NEWARK, Ohio, February 14, 2017 – On Jan. 2, 2017, The Ohio State University at Newark Professor of Music Education Paul Sanders and Black Box Theater Director Edie Norlin celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary. In comparison to that, Valentine's Day is not too big of a deal. However, the two will probably spend the day that celebrates love doing what they love to do – spending time together and introducing Ohio State Newark and Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) students to the world of the performing arts.
"Students from both Ohio State Newark and COTC can work on theater productions with Edie and University Chorus with me," said Sanders. "We both really enjoy working with students from both institutions who love to perform. It's really great."
Sanders and Norlin met when Sanders was the chorus master as a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, and Norlin was in the chorus.
"My friend and I were looking to meet guys, and it worked," said Norlin. "It wasn't love at first sight though. I had to get my wisdom teeth extracted, and Paul told me I couldn't miss practice. So, I didn't miss. I showed up in pain with a swollen mouth, and I wanted to make sure he knew how awful I felt. Eventually, we got past that little disagreement though."
The two got married after Sanders finished his master's degree and eventually had two sons. Sanders taught elementary general music and secondary choral music in Oklahoma City and Norman, Oklahoma, and served on the faculty at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc, Wisconsin before joining the faculty at Ohio State Newark. Norlin received her secondary teaching license in English, speech and drama and worked at the high school level for several years. When she moved into higher education at Silver Lake College, she headed the secondary teaching program. When Sanders got the position in Newark, Norlin worked again in the secondary environment at Newark Catholic and New Albany high schools. She accepted a position at Ohio State Newark in the teacher education program in 1998 and began directing university productions in 2013.
"Because we are both involved in the performing arts on campus, we work together a lot and share a lot of the same students," said Norlin. "Since I did not change my name, many people don't realize we are married."
"Both of us conduct ourselves professionally, and we pride ourselves on that," said Sanders. "So, it's always fun to see the looks on students' faces when they figure it out."
The two recently collaborated on the Black Box Theater summer production of 1776. Norlin was the production's director and Sanders was the musical director. They both say the secret to working together well is the same secret that has made their marriage last 35 years.
"We respect each other," said Norlin. "We get along really well. People often depict marriage as a series of compromises, but I don't think that is the case. At the end of the day, the bottom line is respecting each other. I respect him tremendously. He is the best guy I know."
"Ditto," said Sanders.
"I am the best guy he knows too," laughed Norlin.
"See, we are best friends," said Sanders in the middle of laughing. "We have a really good friendship. She has a great sense of humor, and she tolerates a lot of my awful jokes."
Central Ohio Technical College and The Ohio State University at Newark have forged an outstanding array of educational opportunities for the central Ohio region and beyond. This partnership is viewed as a model for higher education in the state of Ohio. At Central Ohio Technical College, students gain hands-on, applicable experience to begin working in the field, or to transfer those credits toward a bachelor's degree program. The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that's challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State's more than 200 majors.