Karen and Bill Dishman had a love story like you see in the movies.
Karen and Bill were both in the Gator Band, but they didn’t really know each other because they were at opposite ends of the band formation. Karen played piccolo, and Bill played trumpet.
Years later, Karen (BS '77, MED '79) had her first job as a school counselor. Bill (BMUSE '80, MM '96) was the band director at the same school.
They had never met or really even spoken until one day Bill approached her.
“I know you from somewhere,” he said.
The two discovered they had been in Gator Band together, and Bill asked Karen out on a date to the jazz band concert.
Two years later, they were married.
“After our first date at the jazz band concert, it was not ‘do you want to go out again?’ It was ‘what do you want to do tomorrow?’” Karen said. “It was an instant, unspoken thing. It was automatic. And we were together every day since that date.”
Bill and Karen’s love for music didn’t stop after college. They both joined the Gainesville Community Band in 1983.
Bill owned a private trumpet studio for 32 years, played in a local orchestra for 34 years and played in the Gainesville Brass Quintet for 31 years. Karen plays in the Gainesville Flute Ensemble.
The couple liked to spend their summers in Colorado where they played in the community band.
“It was like our home away from home,” Karen said.
In August 2018, Bill passed away. In his honor, Karen started a scholarship for members of the Gator Band.
Bill and Karen participated in Gator Band Alumni weekend almost every year, and she thought a scholarship given out on that weekend would be the perfect way to honor him.
“As long as he could play his trumpet, he was content,” she said. “He was a lifelong Gator and loved his trumpet and loved the band.”