# musical homecoming

This last weekend Joe and I participated in the 50th anniversary of Utah State’s alumni band. It was a two-day event that brought in special conductor Col. Arnald Gabriel—Conductor Emeritus of the United States Air Force Band—for the big finale concert.

This wasn’t my first time to play under the Colonel. He was one of the conductors at that fateful 1997 Midwestern Music Camp at KU that changed my life forever.

At a picnic the first night of the alumni celebration, I went up to say hello and introduce Joe and told him it was a reunion 16 years in the making. I told him I had been one of the many campers he influenced over the years and that it was that summer I knew I wanted to be a musician forever. I didn’t know whether to thank him or blame him!

Midwestern Music Camp Horns - 1997
Col. Gabriel and the Midwestern Music Camp horns. (Please check out that *GIGANTIC* mint green scrunchie on my wrist. Good lord!)

He laughed and said, “do you remember what we played??” I told him I’d never forget. It was this – who wouldn’t want to be a horn player after performing a piece like this?:

Band Camp jokes aside, the few weeks I spent in Lawrence, Kansas altered everything. I can still picture the classroom I was sitting in when the horns had just finished a sectional on the Overture to Hansel and Gretel when I knew I wanted to be a horn player. Nothing could ever give me so much of a high. That piece still holds an extremely special place in my heart – it was even played at our wedding.

That camp also gave me an even greater gift – the most incredible lifelong friend, Bobbie. We met the first night when she came up to me on our way to dinner to ask if I was a horn player. Life changing moment.
Bobbie and Marci - 1997

Marci & Bobbie - Midwestern Music Camp 1997
Bobbie and me with Col. Gabriel and KU’s Bob Foster

I could—and will—write entire posts on Bobbie, but this is just one of the many ways that camp influenced my life and how wonderfully special it was to see Col. Gabriel again. Sweet, sweet memories.

Marci and Col. Gabriel - 2013

The next day we played a fantastic concert and at the end, true to form, he held up his signature “I love you” hand signal to the band and I almost lost it. We love you too, Colonel. Thank you for everything.


2 thoughts on “# musical homecoming

  1. It’s soooo much fun seeing this post and remembering that fateful band camp summer! I love that last pic of you two. (And Abby would totally want to chew on your red necklace…)

  2. Pingback: # surprise trip, take two | hashtag marci

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