Love yOU

SMTD alumni share stories of meeting, falling in love on OU campus

icon of a calendarFebruary 14, 2019

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Love yOU
Dan & Emily Head
Emily & Dan Head (Photo courtesy Lakewind Photography)

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, alumni of Oakland University’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance are sharing their stories of finding love in OU’s Varner Hall.

Dan & Emily Head

Dan and Emily met at Oakland University in the fall of 2011 while they were both music majors and trumpet players in the same studio.

“Naturally competitive we did not get along at first, but being placed as stand partners in the Brass Band, we ended up becoming best friends and coined the term ‘stand buddies,” Emily said.

Dan graduated with his Bachelor of Arts in Music in 2014 and went on to get his master’s degree in Trumpet Performance at Ball State University in Indiana while Emily completed her degree in Instrumental Music Education at OU.

“We were living in two different states and continuously missed our ‘stand buddy,’” Emily said. “We soon took our friendship to the next level and three years later, we married on July 28th, 2018. We always said we would be ‘stand buddies’ for life, and now we are.” 

Dan is currently teaching through his personal studio and is a teacher in three separate studios around the metro Detroit area. He teaches all brass students at the Troy location of Expressions Music Academy and High Brass at their Novi location. In addition, he also works in the repair shop and as a trumpet teacher at the Marshall Music. Co. in Troy.

Emily is currently in her third year of teaching K-8 general and instrumental music at St. Regis School in Bloomfield Hills. She also teaches private trumpet lessons in Oakland County. 

Dan and I both love to play duets together in our spare time,” she said.

Aldrin Arche & Mike Moreno

Aldrin Arche & Mike Moreno
Mike Moreno & Aldrin Arche

Aldrin and Mike met at Oakland University in the fall semester of 1996 while performing with the Meadow Brook Estate Show Choir.

“We had our first official date on Valentine’s Day in 1997,” Aldrin said. “I remember treating Mike to a romantic couple’s spa and dinner. I picked him up and blindfolded him in the car so that it would be a surprise, and he sure was! It was a perfect night for what was to become a beautiful, long and loving relationship.”

Mike graduated with a bachelor's degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance from Oakland University, while Aldrin received a degree in Musical Theatre. 

“Shortly after graduating in 2000, Mike received a temporary teaching job in Eastchester, NY,” Aldrin said. “He moved out to Brooklyn, NY while I stayed back in Michigan to save money.  In 2001, we finally moved in together to a two-bedroom apartment in Queens, NY.

Mike currently works at H. Frank Carey High School, where he has been teaching for two years. He has received a master’s degree in Music Education from Queens College and a master’s degree in Educational Administration from The College of St. Rose.

Aldrin continued to work as an actor in the New York City area, on national tours and at regional theaters, until landing a position with NBCUniversal in 2009. He currently works as a director of digital ad sales operations in NYC.

“Marriage was always a topic of conversation ever since we were a couple at OU,” Aldrin said. “We never thought it could ever become a reality, let alone, witness same sex marriages during our lifetime. But as more and more states recognized them, we decided to wait until we received the rights and privileges in our home state of New York.”

Aldrin said the couple were sitting on their couch watching the vote live as the New York State Senate passed the Marriage Equality Act of 2011, which allows gender-neutral marriages for both same- and opposite-sex couples.

“It was so surreal because we had been waiting and fighting for this moment for such a long time,” he said. “When it passed we just looked at each other and embraced. There was no need for a proposal or words. Our embrace said it all.”

The couple were married on Feb. 16, 2013 at Chelsea Piers in New York City.

“It was a beautiful, mild winter day with our closest family and friends,” Aldrin said. “Our union celebrated 16 years of being a couple. And now so many of our LGBTQ friends have gotten married. It's so awesome!”

In 2017, the couple’s family grew with the addition of their son, Sebastian (Sebi for short).

“We had Sebi through surrogacy via gestational carrier,” Aldrin said. “Thanks to a selfless and amazing woman, we have our extended family in Ontario, Canada. We keep in contact regularly and visit at least twice a year. As our son grows, he will know where he came from and his amazing surrogate mom and family.”

After living on the Upper West side for 14 years, the couple recently moved to the suburbs of Great Neck, NY and are expecting another child in September 2019.

“As OU alumni and members of the LGBTQ community, we are obligated to show the students that there is beauty and love in what can be such a dark time in a queer person's life,” Aldrin said. “I hope that reading our story, it can change people's lives and spark hopes and dreams as it did for us. If you surround yourself with people that love and support you, you can achieve anything.”

Luke & Amandalynne Perzyk

Luke & Amandalynne Perzyk
Amandalynne & Luke Perzyk

Luke and Amandalynne met in Oakland University’s Varner Hall, but didn’t connect with each other until years later.

“It was not until his senior year, my junior year, that we began noticing each other as great musicians,” Amandalynne said. “We were always practicing a few rooms from each other. That's what I noticed about Luke the most — his dedication and practice schedule, which was similar to mine.”

The couple started out as friends, but things took a romantic turn after their first date following a dress rehearsal of Pirates of Penzance.

“Luke was about to leave with the OU Brass Band for London and he was going to miss the opera,” Amandalynne said. “So I invited him to watch the rehearsal and he waited almost two hours after the show to take me out to eat and just sit and chat with me about the show and other interests before he left for the big competition. When he came back it was not long before we started dating officially.”

After graduation, Luke Perzyk left for Southern Methodist University in Dallas and the couple began a long-distance relationship.

“When we parted for the first year it was rough,” Amandalynne said. “Relationship-wise we were fine, but being away from someone you love is always hard, and by that point we knew we always wanted to be together. In the summer of 2016 we started talking about marriage and how we would make it work as two aspiring performance majors. When he came to visit me in Austria, we just knew that this life filled with music, culture, and experiences, was the life that we would choose to live together.”

Luke would propose on Oct. 10, 2016 after asking Amandalynne’s mother for her blessing.

“I was finishing up my degree at OU, and trying to figure out the next step in my education,” Amandalynne said. “We decided to move together while I pursued my master’s degree, and we ended up in Cincinnati. It was difficult for Luke at first to work and practice and give a lesson here and there, not to mention my demands of being a master's student at CCM -Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. But the two years before we got married were essential for us as adults and as a couple.”

The couple chose July 14, 2018 as their wedding date.

“It happened to be my grandparents’ anniversary, but mostly we chose it because it is a sweet spot in the summer where all of our family, friends, and our teachers that helped bring our artistic minds together, could all share our special day,” Amandalynne said.

While planning their wedding, Luke also contemplated joining the U.S. Army Regional Band asa musicians specialist.

“Of course, I would support anything he chose if it would make him happy, so we decided to plan a wedding and join the Army at the same time,” Amandalynne said. “A difficult task, but not impossible.”

The couple were married at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church Romanian Byzantine Rite in Detroit.

“After the wedding, it was all work for the newlyweds in the Perzyk house,” Amandalynne said. “Luke would practice for hours, and we would workout to prepare him for basic training. His audition was Dec. 3, and we found out on the Dec. 10 that he was accepted. It brought us so much joy.”

As Luke undergoes basic combat training, Amandalynne is performing as Rosalinde in the University of Cincinnati College – Conservatory of Music’s production of Die Fledermaus at the Cohen Family Studio Theater in Cincinnati.

“Both of us are working hard on our goals,” Amandalynne said. “I couldn’t imagine what our live would be like if we hadn’t met in the halls of Varner, when we were just two musicians who became best friends and soulmates. We’ve proven that true love has no barriers or limitations.”


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