As Anna Maria College gets ready for its “Feel the Love” celebration on Valentine’s Day, we wanted to take a moment to share the love stories and memories that have been created at Anna Maria. In addition to being a proud academic institution, Anna Maria College is the first chapter in many students’ happily ever afters. A place where people first met, fell in love, and went on to get married and even have families. Anna Maria College is the start of many stories and through February we are excited to “Feel the Love” with our alumni love stories!
How many years have you been together?
15 years married, almost 19 years together.
What year did you graduate? What was your major?
Michael: I graduated in 2007 with a BA in Music and in 2015 with my MBA.
Brianne: 2008 (Music Therapy), 2012 (Masters in Education)
What drew you to Anna Maria College as a student?
Michael: Small, rural campus with personalized attention.
Brianne: The reputation of the Music Therapy Program is what drew me to apply to Anna Maria College. After visiting, I fell in love with the small community feel of campus, tucked away in rural Paxton, but close enough to the city for me to expand my horizons (I grew up in small town Maine, so I needed to ease into it!). I also loved that the class sizes were small giving us the opportunity to form relationships with our classmates and professors.
How did you meet your significant other?
Michael: We were both in the choir together and really spent our first time together when I drove her back from a car wash fundraising event for the chorus at the Oxford Walmart.
Brianne: We were both music majors and were in Choir together. He loves to tell people we met at Walmart, because that was the first time we really talked, and he was my ride to a fundraising event there. That day, I overslept, so I rolled out of bed, and ran out the door to get in his car, without brushing my hair or putting on a speck of makeup. I always joke that I knew it was true love, because he asked for my number that day, a day when I probably looked my worst!
Describe your first date. Was it love at first sight or a slow burn?
Michael: Our first date was at a now closed restaurant in East Brookfield called Carmella’s Italian Kitchen. I knew I loved her when our eyes met at the above-mentioned fundraising event; I knew then that we should be together.
Brianne: On our first date we went to Carmella’s, a small quaint Italian restaurant. We ate and the conversation was easy. I was head over heels even before this date, back at that fundraising event, our eyes met in the car, and I just knew.
Share some of your favorite memories as an AMCat!
Michael: Some of my favorite memories were the one-off performances in the music department, from singing with the Monks at St. Joseph’s Abbey both at their location and the Worcester Art Museum, to madrigal nights for the trustees, to the Anna Maria College Galas, and establishing the Anna Maria Jazz Band with good friends.
Brianne: We made so many great friends at Anna Maria College. Some of my best memories are from just spending time with Mike and our friends. But I especially loved the many experiences Mike and I had together in the Music Program. Some notable memories are performing the Carmina Burana with the Worcester Consortium Choirs, performing onstage with Kenny Rogers, and the many small campus concerts (Confections and Cadences, Halloween Concert, etc.) where Mike and I performed together.
How has Anna Maria impacted your personal and professional life?
Michael: I have been an employee at the College since 2005. Anna Maria is a part of my life; from meeting my wife there, to both of us having grad and undergrad degrees, to now having three children together, there is no doubt it all stems from AMC. Our third child was adopted through DCF, and we worked with almost all Anna Maria graduates throughout that process; when we were at St. Vincent’s having our first two children, I ran into Anna Maria graduates and nursing faculty members at the facility. Anna Maria has given me the opportunity to make mistakes and grow as a person both personally and professionally.
Brianne: I owe so much of my happiness to my time spent at Anna Maria College. It is where I met my husband and some of my closest friends. It is where I learned about the field that would become my career and passion. I was trained by some of the best in the field of music therapy. Because of the education and training I received, I was able to enter the field easily and confidently and have been happily employed in special education since the day I graduated.
What do you “love” about Anna Maria College?
Michael: To me Anna Maria is a place where people care about your success both in and out of the classroom. Anna Maria provides individualized attention to folks that may not have a chance to go to another college. I was one of those kids, I was super late applying to college, Anna Maria gave me an opportunity to succeed; taught me how to work hard, provided me with mentors for my professional career, and took a chance on me while giving me the resources to succeed as long as I put in the hard work. I went from a work study in IT to Executive Vice President.
Brianne: I love that Anna Maria College continues to grow, yet still maintains their tight knit community feel and attention to individual student success. The campus has changed a lot since I graduated. But I still love to attend events there. We often visit for homecoming, family events, football games, and other campus gatherings. Despite all the growth, it still feels like a tightknit community.
Do you think any of your children will be future AMCats one day?
Michael: Our kids come to many of the Anna Maria events with us already and even get involved with the eSports team both watching in person and online. They would be great future AMCATS.
Brianne: I would be proud to have a future AMCat.