“Boy, do I have someone coming to study clarinet with me that you are going to LOVE playing with in chamber music and ensembles!” Professor Mitch Estrin predicted when announcing Peter Geldrich’s (MM ‘06) arrival.
At the time, Professor Estrin had no idea just how much Shannon Lowe (BMUSE ‘04, MM ‘06) would indeed love the ensemble’s newest member.
One day in the University Auditorium, as Shannon was packing up her bassoon Peter approached her. At first glance, Shannon thought he was good looking and a talented musician, but still rejected him when he asked her to hang out because she had been seeing someone else at the time.
Throughout the semester Shannon and Peter’s bond over music grew as they worked together in ensembles and founded a music chamber trio. The two talked often and compared notes on music, and Shannon began to regret denying him at first.
“At night, when I practiced in the classrooms, Peter would seek me out and say ‘I have some awesome recordings that I must play for you!’ So, we would sit together in the classrooms listening to the great classical works and delve into long conversations about what was fantastic about each one and the moments in the music we loved,” Shannon said.
Shannon began ditching her current boyfriend to spend time with Peter and other graduate students until she decided to end her 5 year relationship.
One evening several months later, Shannon found herself locked out of her apartment and Peter offered her a couch to sleep on for the night.
After waking up to the smell of fresh coffee and Grieg’s “Morning Mood” playing, Shannon couldn’t believe this guy was real. Following that moment, their relationship progressed and Peter asked Shannon to date him.
The initial excitement began to fade as Shannon feared their friendship was at risk leaving them to agree to see other people. Shannon even went as far as setting him up with her best friend from grade school. She went on a few dates herself, but realized that none of those guys compared to her beloved friend and musical partner, Peter.
Months went by of Shannon trying to find the right opportunity to ask him out once again, until one night when they were ditched by a group of their friends. This encouraged the two to enjoy a night out together downtown.
As they approached Shannon’s apartment at the end of the night, Peter said, “I know you turned me down before. But, at the end of this semester, we are going to go our separate ways. I don’t want to leave Gainesville without trying one last time to see if we have a chance together.”
Since that night, they have been together for 13 years and still supporting one another’s passions. Peter is a clarinet professor at Valdosta State University while Shannon is a bassoon professor at UF. On the weekends she travels to Valdosta to spend time with Peter and their two fluffy dogs and two cats.
“If you can travel long distances in a car with someone and come out enjoying every moment of it (even the stressful ones), it's a good sign your relationship can ‘go the distance’” Shannon said.
Shannon also encourages couples to laugh through the failures, awkward moments and disagreements.