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Thomas Edison was once quoted as saying that success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Brother Gary Herbig ’69 would agree. For the past 40+ years, he has sustained a successful career as a Hollywood studio musician. If you've ever heard the saxophone solo on the television program, "Cheers," then you've already been treated to his musical talents as a saxophone soloist.

As Gary’s bio reads, “Herbig and his family lived in a one-room building [at the foot of Patte Canyon] with a wood stove and kerosene lamps. They got their water from from Patte Creek, which is full of rainbow trout. In the fifth grade, his school music teacher, Roy Lyman, chose the clarinet for him. The Herbigs were a prominent musical family of professional musicians, so at 14 he joined the union and began working. He attended the University of Montana on a clarinet scholarship and then moved to Hollywood in 1969. As a studio musician he has played on hundreds of movies and TV shows and more than 1,000 records. Aside from "Cheers" his TV work includes "Knots Landing," "The Young and the Restless," "Rosanne," "Home Improvement" and "Showtime at the Apollo." Currently he can be heard every Sunday night on the WB TV series "7th Heaven." His two solo albums, Gary Herbig and Friends to Lovers reached the top 10 on the Billboard contemporary jazz charts. He's toured with Tower of Power, Lee Ritenour, Seawind, David Benoit, the Percy Faith Orchestra and Elvis Presley as well as the Big Bands of Buddy Rich, Toshiko Akioshi, Don Ellis, Bobby Rodriguez, Capp-Pierce Juggernaut and Gerald Wilson & Ed Shaunessy.”

“I recorded ‘Whiplash’ in the ‘70s as a member of the Don Ellis Orchestra on our ‘Soaring’ album on the German BASF record label,” Gary explains. “Most of you heard our music score to Gene Hackman's hit movie, ‘The French Connection.’ My full clarinet scholarship at UofM prepared me to get the gig playing on ‘Cheers’ for 11 TV seasons at Paramount Studios.”

While at the University of Montana, Gary loved the fraternity house. He remembers the story about its origins as a Chinese mansion that was owned by the president of the First National Bank of Missoula during the gold rush. He lived in the Ski Shack the summer before he pledged and remembers good times with brothers Don Collins ’70, Don McDonald and concert promoter Brian Knaff ’66.

“It was just beautiful,” he describes. “I liked being in an elegant environment. Sigma Chi set a new bar for my standards. I loved the camaraderie and fellowship. I remember that the house had several different woods, like the Queen Mary. During my sophomore year, the board decided to replace the basement stairs. Union carpenters took on the job. When they started taking it apart, they found that it was a giant Chinese jigsaw puzzle. It took them two weeks to disassemble it, and they set it up in Union Hall for apprentices to observe. It was a great learning opportunity.”

Following graduation, Gary arrived in Hollywood where he quickly became a student of legendary studio musician, Bill Green. His plan was to study with a prominent studio musician and out-practice everyone.

As Gary explains, “Being a studio musician is subjective. You can either do it or you can’t. They say it takes 20,000 hours of practice to make a professional ball player or professional musician. It takes more time to become an accomplished studio musician than it does to become a doctor or lawyer. The Beatles played together 12 hours a day.”

Gary’s work ethic has had a lasting impact. He continues to play, including two concerts earlier this month for Missoula’s Concerts in the Park series.

Gary invites brothers to connect with him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Core Values, Vision, and Mission

Core Values
Sigma Chi’s core values are Friendship, Justice and Learning. Our vision is to become the preeminent collegiate leadership development organization — aligned, focused and living our core values. Our mission is to develop values-based leaders committed to the betterment of character, campus and community.

The fundamental purpose of the Sigma Chi Fraternity is the cultivation, maintenance and promotion of the core values of Friendship, Justice and Learning.

In the pursuit of these high ideals, the Sigma Chi Fraternity is able to offer tremendous value in augmenting the collegiate experience and supporting the lifelong journey of each of its members. We hope to assist brothers in becoming men of character, caring husbands, compassionate fathers and community leaders.