“Lords of Literature – 15 Years Later” This Week News Gahanna – January 2016
LORDS OF LITERATURE
The Columbus Dispatch
Published: Thursday, June 3, 2010
CONCERT // 4 p.m. Friday in Rick’s Coaches Food & Spirits, 230 Granville St., Gahanna ADMISSION // free
Most students are taken aback when they see their teachers patronizing a theater or supermarket. But when they hear them playing rock ‘n’ roll? So goes a long-standing joke for the Lords of Literature — four Gahanna teachers and an assistant high-school principal. Their cover-band stylings include tunes by Marvin Gaye, Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Queen, and the Beatles, said guitarist and English teacher Joe Mischler, who recently shared some more:
Q: How did the band form? A: Upon arriving at Gahanna Lincoln in 1996, I soon learned that one of my colleagues was a talented drummer. A few years and several two-man jam sessions later, a new English teacher named John DeHass was hired. He was a long-haired Asian-Amish kid who played the bass, and a teacher rock band was born.
Q: What do your students and peers think? A: Most students consider teachers to be somewhat nerdy, so being in a rock band elevates our “cool factor” maybe half a notch. The staff has been extremely supportive. They’re our best fans.
Q: Have you played any school functions? A: Our debut performance was eight years ago at a student council-sponsored battle of the bands. The original three members lacked singing skills, so we recruited a couple of students to provide vocals. We’ve also performed at school fundraisers and Gahanna Lincoln’s annual Peace Week celebration.
Q: What’s the best quote heard about the band? A: After our set at Gahanna’s Creekside festival last year, one of my former students approached me and said, “I totally expected you guys to suck, but you’re actually pretty good.”
Q: Why should someone see you in concert? A: Because we take schoolhouse rock to a whole new level, busting out some of the greatest rock, pop and Motown tunes of the past 50 years. And there will be no homework.
Ten years later, band of local teachers still ready to rock
The Lords of Literature are celebrating a decade of surprising students with their rock-and-roll prowess.
By PAMELA WILLIS
Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2011
You could be Addicted to Love, a Daytripper or even Hard to Handle and still rock on with “central Ohio’s premier all-teacher band.”
The Lords of Literature rocked the house Jan. 14 at Rick’s Coaches in Gahanna in celebration of the band’s 10-year anniversary. “It was big fun,” said Lincoln High School English teacher Joe Mischler “The crowd was great – it seemed like everyone had a blast. I know I did.”
Outside of class, Mischler jams on rhythm guitar with drummer and fellow Lincoln High School English teacher Mark Miller. Math teacher Mary Vonck adds keyboards and vocals, and Assistant Principal Art Prince plays lead guitar.
High Point Elementary School music teacher Brian Behary rounds out the band on bass and vocals, with Damon Mollenkopf, who teaches social studies at Westerville North High School, as lead singer.
The band played at the Creekside Jazz and Blues Festival in June; at Cocktails at the Conservatory at Franklin Park Conservatory in August; and at Gahanna’s Creepside Halloween festival in October.
Mischler said the band performs frequent happy-hour shows at Rick’s Coaches, including an occasional Saturday night gig.
“Given all of our family, teaching, and coaching responsibilities, we keep the performance schedule pretty light during the school year,” Mischler said. “But in the summertime, we love to get out to as many events and festivals as possible and spread the gospel of the Lords.”
Mischler said getting up on stage and performing “used to terrify me.”
“It’s now an absolute blast,” he said.”The band has been a fun, rewarding project over the past 10 years. After several personnel changes, we now have a stable lineup of six musicians capable of putting on a really good show.”
Mischler said he began teaching at Lincoln High School in the mid 1990s and “soon learned that the bookish chap who sat across from me in the English office was an accomplished drummer.”
That chap was Miller, who enjoys playing drums for many reasons, one being that “it’s a great way to reduce job stress.”
“I also enjoy the camaraderie with my bandmates,” he said.” It just feels good to entertain the crowd and connect with them musically.”
Miller and Mischler were just a “two-man jam session” for a year or so after they met, but they soon found other educators with passions for playing.
“Our first performance was 10 years ago at the Battle of the Bands in the Gahanna school gym,” Mischler said.” The rest is teacher rock history.”
As far as rehearsals go, the band gathers in the “rock-and-roll bunker” in Miller’s basement on a weekly basis.
“We get loud for a couple of hours and Mark’s saintly wife tolerates us,” Mischler said.
Miller said of the six band members, four are married and three have children.
“Teaching students is our first priority,” he said. “We practice only once a week, right after school, and then we practice on our own. Joe and I are English teachers, so our evenings and weekends become filled with reading and marking essays, journals and research papers — all the more reason we need this band to relax and have some fun.”
Students are often pleasantly surprised when they learn the teachers live a “rock-and-roll life” outside the classroom, Mischler said.
“The kids are sometimes taken aback when they learn that their nerdy teachers and principals play in a rock band,” he said. “They’re even more surprised when they discover that we’re fairly competent.”
Miller said students give them a lot of positive feedback.
“Thanks to technology, students more than ever before possess a knowledge, love and appreciation for classic rock, and here are their ‘old’ teachers, drumming, strumming and singing Beatles tunes,” he said. “We have top-flight student musicians at Lincoln High School, some of whom have started their own bands.
“We find ourselves enjoying long conversations with them about music,” he said. “So overall, our participation in this rock band has fostered some good teacher-student relationships.”
Mischler said the band’s summer calendar includes shows at the Columbus Clippers pregame Party on the Plaza, the Westerville Sounds of Summer concert series, the Creekside Jazz and Blues Festival, the London Jazz and Ribfest, and a Saturday night at Coaches in Gahanna.