Music teacher reunites with one of her first students after 50 y - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Music teacher reunites with one of her first students after 50 years

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HERRIN -- It was a musical and happy reunion 53 years in the making after a choral teacher reunited with her most memorable student. The two went their separate ways after graduation, but always wondered how the other was doing.

Their relationship began with music over 50 years ago. Decades later, music would bring Sandra Davies and Pam Dees back together again.

The two met during their first year at Northern Illinois' Pecatonica High School.

"She was a freshman in high school and I was a first year teacher," says Davies. 

That first day of school, Davies (who went by Young) asked for a student to play with the choir. Dees volunteered and kept playing all four years of high school.

After graduation, Dees (who went by Youngdahl) followed in Davies' footsteps, attending the University of Illinois and becoming a public school music teacher before going on to teach at a college level.

"She was just wonderful, and they were seminal years for me. I certainly wouldn't have gone on as a musician," said Dees. 

A year after Dees graduated, Davies got married and moved to Vancouver, Canada, eventually landing a job teaching music at the University of British Columbia.

"I don't think I had ever told her how much I had appreciated her, and I thought, I've got to contact this person. I wonder where she is," says Davies. 

Through social media, the two reconnected, hoping for an opportunity to meet. Davies planned to visit Illinois to attend her 60th high school reunion, so the two decided to meet at Baldwin Piano & Organ Center in Herrin to play together once more.

"As teachers, we never think that students would want to get a hold of us. They usually wave goodbye or don't even wave," says Dees. 

Tuesday, joy and music filled the Baldwin store as the two accomplished pianists played, laughed and cried together. Both ladies say they hope to reunite again, next year.

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