WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — Stephen Gage conducted the W.D. Packard Band for over a decade. After his passing in February, dozens gathered Sunday to play — and hear– music in his honor.

“Love music”: The phrase filled Packard Music Hall and reverberated through every note played in Gage’s honor Sunday afternoon.

His children and his wife, Stephanie Gage, are overwhelmed by the love and support from the community.

“It’s a great tribute to the man that he was. It’s his legacy, his passion for music and people embodied and continuing,” Stephanie Gage said.

His son Brendan played on stage with the W.D. Packard Band. He says it was an honor to play with the band his father conducted for over a decade.

“It was just a really special thing that profession and family could kind of come together in that,” Brendan Gage said.

As Gage’s colleagues and former students shared memories of him, each story at its core described how much he loved those he held close.

John Veneskey was a guest conductor and one of his closest colleagues at Youngstown State University.

“We close every conversation with, ‘I love you, Steve.’ ‘I love you, John.’ And, ‘I love and miss you, John’ — that was literally, the night before his surgery, were the last words that we shared,” Veneskey said.

Chris Cicconi was a guest conductor and one of hundreds who studied under Stephen Gage. He’s now a music professor himself and says he has no doubts that Gage changed the trajectory of his life.

Cicconi says Gage was more than just a professor to many of his students.

“Someone that would look out for me, someone that would deeply care for me the way that he cared for me and someone that would be a sort of champion and always have my back, no matter what,” Cicconi.

The band finished by playing a piece composed in memory of Gage: “Love Music.”