Music, humor mesh in After Eight for Walworth County teachers
DELAVAN What started as a one-off for a local middle school’s annual concert has turned into an early-morning jam-session ritual that’s lasted for more than a decade.
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With a fluctuating cast of half a dozen current and retired Walworth County educators, the band Before Eight gleaned its name from the window of time during which they could practice.
“The reason we’re called Before Eight is we were all educators at Walworth schools, and when we first started, we were able to practice before the kids got there, which was before eight,” said Terry Schaid, a retired teacher and one of the group’s members. “And then as time went on, more and more meetings happened, and we probably could’ve changed our name to ‘before seven.’”
Currently, the group is comprised of Schaid, John Schroeder on rhythm and guitar (he’s also retired), Todd Gaugen on guitar and vocals, Nancy Rassmussen on bass and Peter Kahl on mandolin, harmonica and vocals.
“And I have a truck, that’s why they let me be in the band,” Schaid joked.
The humor is typical of the group, whose live shows are laced with joking around and good-natured self-deprecation. The ribbing seems to only enhance the band’s appeal, however. At a March 25 concert -- part of the Delavan United Church of Christ’s 3@3 concert series -- Minister of Music Sharon Munson said, “I saw all these feet tapping and heads nodding.
“I think the reason their concerts are so much fun is that they have so much fun,” Munson added.
When they got together in 2000 to perform at a school concert, the group didn’t expect that the appearance would lead to other gigs, or even playing together regularly.
But the weekly morning get-togethers quickly became something they looked forward to, Kahl said.
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