It took them 57 years to find each other again. When they did, they made it count!
For this story, I'm going to switch to first-person narration because...well...it just deserves that sort of personal delivery.
My name is Ty Debevoise and I'm the Communications & Marketing Director for Whitehall City Schools. One afternoon in late August, I received a phone message from Robert Kuhn (the handsome groom). The message said, "Mr. Debevoise, I am a 1964 WYHS alum and I wanted to see if it might be a possibility for me to get married to the love of my life (also a 1964 WYHS alum) in the band room in October of this year. I played baritone in the band and that room is very special to me and my lovely fiance." I called him back and explained to him that the band room that he was used to no longer exists as we have renovated that space and turned it into a new IT/business pathway for students. However, I told him that we could possibly do it in our new band room at the front of the building, I would just need to speak to a few people to confirm. "I'll call you tomorrow and we'll get this thing going," I told him. He gave me his fiance's (Sharon) phone number and asked that I call her to give her all the details. You see, Sharon lives in Reynoldsburg while Robert lives in Chicago. So it would be easier to discuss logistics with her since she's local.
I basically sprinted next door to see our band director, Kelley Gilbert. I asked her if there would be any way to include the marching band in the ceremony to make it fun and memorable for Robert and Sharon. She said, "We can totally do this! The kids would love it!" I said, "Awesome! That's what I wanted to know first. I'll call Sharon tomorrow."
I called Sharon and explained to her my idea involving the band. She loved it! We settled on the date, time, and I eventually met with her in person to go over logistics and what she'd like to have happen. Believe me when I tell you that these two are the most low-maintenance people I've ever encountered. Every suggestion I made or question I had about what she would want, Sharon always replied with, "Whatever you all are able to do. That's fine with me. I'm no Bridezilla. I just want to marry that man."
In that initial conversation on the phone, Sharon explained to me their backstory. I listened intently to every word. I told her not to worry and that we would take care of everything. I said, "You just bring Robert. I can't wait to meet him." I hung up the phone and, again, sprinted to go see Kelley.
I said, "If you've got a cuter story than this one, then you win, but here goes." And I told her about Robert and Sharon. They were high school sweethearts and shared their first kiss in the WYHS band room after a rehearsal of the school musical, Oklahoma! After high school, they went their separate ways. Both had families and experienced life apart. Sadly, each of their spouses died about 6-10 years ago. Robert has been living with Parkinson's disease for the last 15 years. On April 10th, 2021, he called that girl he shared a kiss with in the band room and told her that he loved her. He proposed to her in July and said he didn't want to waste anymore time. She immediately said yes. They got married today.
I have to give all credit to Kelley Gilbert and the WYHS Marching Ram Band for making this morning as special as it was. I've never been prouder of our kids. They serenaded the couple with the song Hey Baby by Bruce Channel as the couple made their entrance into the band room. They even changed the lyrics to "Heeeeeeey hey, Sharon! I wanna know if you'll say I do!" After the ceremony, the band gave Robert and Sharon a private concert and played songs from the 1960s around the time they would have graduated from WYHS. Robert then surprised the band with a donation for a party!
It was a fantastic morning and I'm pretty sure I'm leaving some other super cute details out. Haha! It was just really cool to see our kids go out of their way to make two strangers (but at the same time family) feel extremely special. But that's what this community does, though, doesn't it?