Close this search box.

Music: The Magical Tie

Thomas J. Trimborn | April May 2021

    It seems to be a universal truth: music connects people with one another. It causes us to think alike, share certain feelings, and inspires us to act and move. It’s magical. As teachers, we can forget these things, and then something happens to remind us.
    It was a beautiful sunny fall morning out on the practice field. The band was polishing the halftime show, and I was carefully watching and listening from a hill that sloped upward to allow a good view of the drill formations. As I stood there, I glanced over my shoulder and noticed a young woman standing on the sidewalk with a baby stroller taking in the practice. At first, I didn’t recognize her, but as I walked over in her direction I did. It was Cindy, a former student. We chatted briefly, and then it was time to say goodbye. It had been so nice to see my former French horn player, now a grown mom.
    Time passed and I eventually moved to another state and teaching position.  One day a note arrived in the mail from David, another former student (bassoonist). It was quite the good news. He explained that his friend John, who had also been in the band as a fantastic tuba player and pianist, had attended their twentieth class reunion in Palatine (Illinois) even though he had not, and had a good visit with Cindy. John learned that Cindy lived not far from Poughkeepsie, New York where David was living. David was single, and with Cindy and her three children living not far away, John suggested that he touch base with her. He did, and as Cindy says, “one thing led to another.”
    As I continued reading it turned out to be a special invitation to attend the wedding ceremony because of where it was to take place – none other than in the old band room – “because of the many good memories that we share of the time we spent there.” He added that my presence would be the only gift that he and Cindy wished for. Without a doubt, my wife Jane and I were going.
    At this point the high school had been replaced with a new building, with the old one converted into a village hall and community center. However, the band room remained untouched, used by the Palatine Concert Band, a wonderful group of 90 adults then conducted by Donald DeRoche that over the years had many great guest conductors including John Paynter, and James Curnow.
    The date was set for Sunday afternoon, November 24, 1991. My wife and I joined a small group of family and friends in the band room that was decorated with flowers, candles, and tables filled with cake and punch for after the ceremony. John (who might be called the matchmaker) was David’s best man and also played piano. Chairs were arranged on the tiers to provide seating for the attendees. The judge arrived, and in minutes the vows were exchanged, and David and Cindy were duly married.
    After some picture taking and visiting it was time for us say our goodbyes. Over the years, there have been Christmas cards, and more recently a phone chat and some Facebook exchanges. The children have all been instrumentalists (at least early on) – playing tenor sax, bass clarinet, and trombone. Now both retired, David from a career as a software architect for IBM, and Cindy as a city recreation director, they have remained remarkably active musicians playing in church, local orchestras, and especially chamber ensembles. Their story and music go on to this day and will do so well into the future.
    Teachers all have unique events to recall and memories to share in looking back on their professional lives. Most of the time it is impossible for them to know the impact these experiences have on the students with which they interact. This one is perhaps special in that it serves as a reminder to all educators. Music is a tie that binds us together as students, teachers, parents, administrators, communities, and human beings. The mix of learning and loving great music can produce remarkable results – as this story proves.