“I’m excited to play again, and with the incredibly talented people from all the years who’ve graduated from Ithaca,” she said.
She was also looking forward to meeting up with her high school band teacher, trumpet player Emily Kluga ’99.
“She was a big reason why I went to IC in the first place and now we get to reunite, which is really special.”
Jon Aldave ’21, who plays the tuba, was seated next to two alums from different decades.
“They were from completely different generations, and it was interesting to hear their history,” he said. “One of them came to this event from Australia.”
Aldave was supported in the audience by Julia Kucza ’21 whose aunt and uncle—clarinetist Christina Carneale-Helbock ’99 and sax player Garry Helbock ’98—were also playing.
For oboist Pam Quinlan ’92, it was her second time at a band reunion.
“It's such a home feeling,” she said. “It's good to be here and to play with people who have a shared experience.”
Quinlan was one of only two from the class of 1992 to take part in the concert, but she keeps in touch with others via the alumni band Facebook group.
Horn player Dave Wohlhueter ’60, the oldest alum in attendance, said he was most looking forward to playing with such a large group of talented musicians as well as performing under the baton of close friends Steve and Elizabeth Peterson—who both spent 17 years as faculty at IC—and Mark Fonder, conductor of IC’s concert band from 1989 to 2015, who shared some of the band’s history before conducting Symphonic Dance No.3 (“Fiesta”) by Clifton Williams.
Although playing with the band for just one semester before switching his major from music to Television-Radio, Wohlhueter cites the music department as one of his closest connections to the college. He and his wife, Susan, endowed the David P. ’60 and Susan W. Wohlhueter Jazz Writing Contest at Ithaca College.
The other conductors who took to the stage were event organizer, associate director of bands Ben Rochford, performance studies and music education lecturer Aaron Burgess MM ’18 music education professor Keith Kaiser, and Rebekah Daniel, who will be joining Ithaca College in fall 2022 as assistant professor of band.
Chatting at the after party, flautist Kristina Shanton ’90, who is also IC’s music librarian, and trumpet player Mike Salamone ’18 shared that they have known each other since Salamone was an undergrad but the concert was their first opportunity to be on the stage together.
“There are so many connections across generations,” said Salamone, who also found himself seated next to his former private teacher. “There’s something really special about playing on that stage, and it’s difficult to have an experience like that after you leave,” he said. “When I sat down with all the alumni, I felt like I was sitting on stage for the first time when I was a freshman. I had that same feeling in my stomach.”
Exuberance after the performance was palpable with animated conversations and groups taking photos both on stage and at the reception in McHenry lobby. Both Shanton and Salamone felt the reunion was an incredible event.
“We were talking about friends of ours who haven’t come,” said Shanton. “If they came, they would never miss it again.”
This year’s celebration was IC’s third band reunion — previous concerts were held in 2010 and 2015. Rochford believes there is a lot of support among alumni and hopes to see it become a regular event.
The concert was livestreamed and recorded. Following the performance, the video will be available in the IC Archive, and CDs will be available for purchase (for $15 + shipping.)