Gary Merrell began playing the clarinet at age 10 as part of a deal with his parents in which he was allowed to stop taking piano lessons. In elementary school, band class offered several advantages, such as an airtight excuse to miss half of geography class and the chance to go on bus trips with the band. These factors served as strong incentives to become a better clarinetist.
Gary continued to play the clarinet through high school and attended the University of Utah on a music scholarship. Although he began college as a music major, he eventually graduated with degrees in physics and math. He continued to play the clarinet at every opportunity following graduation and has always loved the clear, lyrical sound of the clarinet.
He has played on occasion with various community orchestras, the Paradigm concert series, woodwind quintets, and other chamber groups. Gary has been a member of the Salt Lake Symphony for 11 years. Like many people, Gary often speculates about what would have happened had he not given up piano lessons as a child. He often discusses that question with his wife Lorrie, a piano teacher, who has taught piano to all of their five children.