Last night’s concert was a reunion 38 years in the making! A little background first: I’m from Kalamazoo, Michigan, and had the great fortune to study with the man second from the left in this picture, Neill Sanders.
A few of his many credits were playing principal horn in the London Symphony Orchestra when he was 17, being 2nd horn to Dennis Brain and doing studio work for the Beatles (which is what he was doing in the pictures). He retired from the London horn scene to become the professor at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where I was in high school.
This is where last night’s reunion really began: another of Neill’s young students at the time was Bruce Richards and we played in the Kalamazoo Junior Symphony horn section together for a time and then went on with our lives. He is the principal horn in the Liège Orchestra and teaches at the Conservatory there. He picked up a ticket to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s performance in Brussels and drove a couple hours in driving rain to hear us and I got to see him and give him a hug after all these years! Along with our Kalamazoo Junior Symphony pride, we reflected that there would probably be a nice sparkle in Neill’s eyes in heaven last night. It’s amazing how small the world really is!