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Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Couples on Campus: The Binghams

Ed and Ann Bingham, music professors
Courtesy of Ed Bingham
Ed and Ann Bingham, music professors

“The Long and Winding Road” by the Beatles encapsulates the relationship of one couple in Marshall’s School of Music with its idea of resilience overpowering challenges, the couple said. 

Ed Bingham, professor of saxophone and music studies, and Ann Bingham, professor of clarinet, oboe and music history, met in Knoxville, Tennessee, while Ed was an undergraduate teaching band sections at Ann’s high school. 

The pair married in 1979 after Ed’s graduation from The Juilliard School—a day the couple said was extremely memorable. 

“We had a flat tire on the way to the wedding,” Ed said. “We were about four blocks from the church, so we just drove on the flat.” 

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Likewise, their honeymoon also had some unfortunate mishaps, they said. 

“We were flying to New York, and we sat on the plane for almost three hours because there was a rainstorm,” Ann said. “We were hot, hungry and newly-weds with shiny rings.” 

The story of Ed’s proposal to Ann also has a bit of comedic value, Ed said. 

“We were going to a nice restaurant in Knoxville,” Ed said. “Well, it was closed, so I suggested we go to another restaurant.” 

Despite Ed insisting to Ann they persist in their venture to find another restaurant, Ann stated she was tired and just wanted to forgo eating out at all.

“I was worn out,” Ann said. “I told him I just wanted to go home.”

Ed said he pulled out the ring and said, “Well, this might make you feel better.” 

Their relationship has withstood 43 years, something Ann said takes hard work. 

“It takes an effort, especially with two independent-minded people,” Ann said. “It is well worth the effort.” 

Both Ed and Ann said a main initiative for them both is to be there for each other in all aspects of life. 

“We really support each other any way we can,” Ed said. “We are there for each other, borrow equipment, come to each other for problems or questions we have.” 

Likewise, Ann said Ed serves all of her instrument repairman needs.

“If one of my students has a broken instrument, I just send them upstairs to his office for him to fix it,” Ann said. “He’s just excellent at it.” 

The couple said beyond instrument repairs and the occasional meeting, they do not cross paths at work very often. 

“We both have very hectic schedules,” Ann said. “Sometimes, we meet for lunch, or sometimes we have to bring two separate cars—but we make it work.”

Beyond work responsibilities, both Ed and Ann enjoy traveling and enjoying each other’s company.

“We took an Amtrak to Glacier National Park,” Ed said. “We also visit friends in San Antonio, Texas, and just like to travel whenever we can.” 

Currently, the duo is looking forward to retirement, Ed said. Future travel destinations are on the agenda as well, Ann said. 

“We would like to go to Iceland, Northern Canada or New Zealand,” Ann said. 

Serving as each other’s travel partners wouldn’t work without their fondness of each other’s company, they said. 

“I love his weird, wonderful sense of humor,” Ann said. “Also, I love his really high level of intelligence.”

Likewise, Ed said he admires Ann’s people skills.

“Her ability to relate to people is great,” Ed said. “All of her students love her.”

While Ed said Ann’s students all share a love for her, both Ed and Ann are dedicated to serving their students.

“We are both devoted to Marshall, music and our students,” Ed said. 

In addition, Ann said, “It is a special place, and we have a close relationship with our students—and watching them succeed is rewarding.”

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