Principal French horn player Kyle Mills, 31, and principal oboe Jenny Sengpiel, 25, were on a small aircraft to participate in a tandem skydiving jump on Saturday, May 12, according to the Great Falls Tribune; their plane crashed shortly after takeoff. The cause of the accident has not yet been discovered.
Mills and Sengpiel were engaged and planned to marry at the end of this summer, Great Falls Symphony executive director Carolyn Valacich told the paper. They were also members of the Chinook Winds ensemble.
GFSO music director Gordon Johnson added that the two were "key artistic members" of the orchestra.
Sengpiel came to Great Falls two years ago after earning her master's degree in music from the University of Michigan. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Minnesota.
Mills, a Michigan native, joined the Great Falls Symphony a year ago to be closer to Sengpiel, according to the Tribune. He earned degrees in music from Indiana University and the Manhattan School of Music and had performed with the Detroit Opera House.
Valacich told the Tribune that [Senpiel] was "a very sweet and dedicated person," while [Mills] was "a star ascending. He was a very gifted horn player."
The couple were reportedly planning to leave Montana at the end of May, Mills to the Calgary Philharmonic and Sengpiel to get her doctoral degree in music.