Love at First Note

When Michael Nielsen saw Sara Wilson at the U’s Marching Band camp three years ago, it was love at first sight. She was a freshman in the business school, and he was taking continuing education classes at the U. They both played the saxophone, and they both loved red. They clicked immediately.

It was like a fairy tale.

But after gliding across Rice-Eccles field at home games, cheering for the Utes, and proudly wearing their plumed uniforms, Nielsen fell for more than Wilson’s captivating smile and charming personality. He fell for the U, too.

We love the University of Utah,” Nielsen says. “The reason we are so intense about the university itself is that we owe our relationship and our best friends to the marching band.”

Together with the band, Nielsen and Wilson have traveled to bowl games, away games, Pac-12 championships, and more. After Nielsen marched behind Wilson in a pregame show last year in a block U formation, he knew just where to go to pop the question.

In possibly the most publicly romantic gesture on campus, Nielsen asked her to marry him in front of the red block U near the Union Building. They posted the picture on Twitter, and the rest is history.

But the story doesn’t end there. Now a drum major, this is Nielsen’s last year with the band, and Wilson is graduating with a degree in business and supply chain management. After that, they intend to stay involved with the marching band by running its alumni program.

As far as the wedding goes, they’re hosting it at the U Alumni House this summer. And as the couple debated what colors to choose for their wedding, they knew the theme wouldn’t have any blue.

“The U holds a very special place in our hearts,” Nielsen says. “I protest wearing the color blue for a reason. Sara has a blue car, and on the back it says, ‘My car may be blue, but I bleed red. Go Utes.’ ”


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  1. As a Utah alum (BS 70) I also bleed red. Loved hearing about your fun proposal and want to wish you years of happiness. Congratulations!

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