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Alumni Stories

Greece Wedding Connection

by Alex Bizianes

I studied abroad on the Summer 2016 KIIS Greece program because of my University of Louisville Greek Mythology professor, Dr. Steve Watkins. He was instrumental in helping me realize the trip was a possibility. We’ve remained in contact since the program and then in May 2020, my wife and I were married by Dr. Watkins.

My grandfather grew up learning the accordion and began teaching it privately as he reached employment age. He had an accomplished career of gigging, teaching and running a successful music retail business. He lived to be 80 years and on his last day alive, still maintained and taught accordion students.

When he passed away, it was time for someone to step up and take his students. Being a piano player for 15 years at that point and having the most availability of all the teachers, I decided to learn the accordion in order to take over his schedule.

Just before my grandfather passed away, my wife, who grew up in Northern Kentucky/ Cincinnati area, went to a music store while visiting her hometown. She remembered seeing an old accordion there and made a remark about it to her father. Being a musician himself, her father decided an accordion would be the perfect Christmas gift for his daughter.

She got the accordion as a Christmas gift and decided to get it serviced back in Louisville, where she was currently working as a nurse in the hospital. She visited the Bizianes Music Mart, and my grandfather serviced the instrument and persuaded her to start taking lessons from him.

When she got around to coming in for her first lesson, I had taken over as the new accordion teacher. She was my student for about a year, and we had become good friends by that point. Our friendship ended up leading to a relationship. It was clear from the beginning of our relationship that we had a special bond and that had been joined together by our love for music. We got married soon after.

When I thought of who I wanted as my officiant, I decided on Dr. Watkins. I wanted someone who knew me well, and we really hit it off during our time abroad. I took both of his classes while studying abroad on the KIIS Greece program. In total, I took five courses from him during my time as a college student. We share a personal connection forged through our trip to Greece. He is a wonderful teacher and a prince of a guy.

I remembered him telling the class that he was a minister at a church back in Kentucky and he had been the Chaplain at the Pentagon during his time in the Navy. While in Greece, one of my classmates had him baptize her in the Mediterranean Sea, and I was able to be one of her witnesses. Looking back on this, I knew he would be the perfect one to marry my wife and me.

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Alex Bizianes

KIIS Greece
BFA in Drawing
University of Louisville

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