As one romantic song puts it, "How do you keep the music playing?" Apparently, It helps to keep playing music together.|
Among the Quad City Symphony Orchestra's 76 players and 12 staff members are seven married couples who are key to keeping the group humming. Looking forward to this weekend's Valentine's Day-themed concerts are:
-- David Greenhoe (principal trumpet) and Marie Greenhoe Lindmark (Volunteers for Symphony).
-- Jim Gager (volunteer coordinator) and Helen Gager (violin).
-- Denise Morton (oboe) and Ron Morton (tuba).
-- Rich Stodd (director of operations) and Janet Stodd (flute and piccolo).
-- Kevin Price-Brenner (cello and Youth Symphony Orchestra music director) and Paul Alan Price-Brenner (Youth Philharmonic Orchestra conductor).
-- Charlie Abplanalp (violin) and Liz Gosma (violin).
-- Allen Ohmes (violin) and Dawn Marino-Ohmes (violin, associate concertmaster).
Here are a few of their stories --
-- Ron and Denise Morton met in the Hawkeye Marching Band at the University of Iowa. This year they will celebrate their 31st anniversary. She has her bachelor's degree in piano, and he has a master's in tuba. Denise plays oboe in the symphony and teaches piano privately. Ron plays tuba in the QCSO and the Quad City Brass Quintet and is a music teacher in the Moline School District.
In college, Denise accompanied three of Ron's recitals. She jokes that since he couldn't afford to pay her, he married her instead.
"We have many shared memories of amazing performances and rehearsal gaffes, which make our shared love of music more rewarding," she said. "Our oldest son, Zack, on occasion is asked to sub with the symphony. He plays bass trombone, so he sits right next to Ron in the orchestra. They haven't gotten in trouble yet. It's very gratifying to be able to share such rewarding experiences with our son.
"All of our four children have taken part in the Holiday Pops Children's Chorus," Denise said. "Ron has been able to enjoy the last several years of performing in Tuba Christmas with our oldest and youngest."
"All of our children are or were heavily involved in music," she said. Their youngest daughter is at Western Illinois on a trombone scholarship, but is an exercise-science major. "They all were selected for Illinois All-State, and our two oldest continue to play as adults. We all value our love of music."
-- Richard and Janet Stodd also met in college, at Augustana, where they both played in the band -- Rich on trumpet, Janet on flute and piccolo. They started dating when he was directing a musical and she played in the pit.
"Our three daughters have many stories about being surrounded by music growing up -- going to symphony and musical rehearsals, and sitting with the marching band at football games," Janet said. "But the great part is that they all love music, and it is enriching their lives."
Rich spent 34 years as a band director in Illinois, the last 20 in the Geneseo schools, and has been QCSO operations director for six years.
"It certainly makes it easier to understand what the other one is going through when you are doing the same activities," he said. "Music has been a very central part of our lives as a married couple. Our children always said they never had a chance -- they had to be involved in the performing arts, even though their decisions to do so were completely their own."
"I'm really looking forward to the Valentine's Day event," said Janet, who plays and teaches flute and piccolo. "The concerts feature some of my favorite composers."
-- Kevin and Paul Price-Brenner have a different twist on their ties to the orchestra. Kevin has played cello in the QCSO since 2002, when he moved here from Reno, Nev., and since summer 2008 has been music director and conductor of the Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra. Last fall, Paul, a viola player, was named the first conductor of the Quad City Youth Philharmonic Orchestra, which is for a slightly younger age group than the 54-year-old Youth Symphony. He is a former orchestra conductor at a high school in the Chicago suburbs.
Residents of Dubuque, they met as doctoral music students at the University of Iowa. They're both on the music faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, and they founded the university's first string quartet in residence, the Kipperton String Quartet, which features Kevin on cello and Paul on viola.
"We combine our musical lives so much with our life together that we turned a trip for me to go play at Carnegie Hall into a honeymoon," Kevin said. That was in March 2010, when he and Paul got married, less than a year after Iowa legalized same-sex marriages. Kevin's given last name is Price, and Paul's is Brenner; they combined them for their married name.
Kevin said it's "pretty natural" for an orchestra the size of the QCSO to have married couples working together. There were many when he played for the Reno orchestra, but there aren't in the Dubuque Symphony, where he's actually performing this weekend.
Balancing professional and personal lives "takes lot of balancing," Kevin said, "especially if something is upsetting -- to let it go, to not bring it home. You'd end up having staff meetings at home."
He said it's fun in the Quad-Cities because the guys talk a lot about the students in their orchestras.
-- David Greenhoe and Marie Greenhoe Lindmark found love later in life, after their children from previous marriages were grown and had kids of their own. In 2003, the QCSO performed "Belshazzar's Feast," a gigantic work for orchestra and singers. Marie sang in the chorus, standing behind the brass
"She was curious about how the trumpeters were transposing the notes, and I was impressed that she'd noticed," said David, principal trumpeter. Marie works for Volunteers for Symphony and is a former president of the group.
"As a symphony audience member and former violinist, Marie liked sitting in the front row at concerts to better view all the busy string activity," David said. At the 2003 rehearsal, she recalled saying, "It's amazing standing behind you, listening to you play," and he said, "Well, it's amazing sitting in front of you, listening to you sing."
Their first date was in October 2003 at Jumer's Castle Lodge, over beef stroganoff and wine. They married in 2008, and they celebrate their anniversary every month in order for the numbers to catch up with the anniversary numbers of their friends.
"Being in love in the 60-something age range is unbelievably romantic," Marie said. "Our teaching careers were winding down; our retirement plans were on course; our children were grown, successful, had wonderful spouses; and nine of our 12 grandchildren were born. Music filled our lives, both figuratively and literally."
David is trumpet professor emeritus at the University of Iowa, and Marie retired from the Rock Island schools after spending most of her years working with and coaching gifted students in kindergarten through 12th grade. They live in Bettendorf, and in the summer reside in New York, where David is trumpeter with the Lake Placid Sinfonietta.
When you're in love and love what you do, the music never ends.
If you go
-- What: Quad City Symphony Orchestra Masterworks IV concert, "Valentine's Day."
-- When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
-- Where: Saturday at Adler Theatre, 136 E. 3rd St., Davenport; Sunday at Centennial Hall, 3703 7th Ave., Rock Island.
-- Tickets: $9 to $51 Saturday, $10 to $35 Sunday at QCSO box office, 327 Brady St., Davenport; (800) 745-3000; Ticketmaster outlets; and ticketmaster.com or qcsymphony.com.