Then there were three: Mighty Teacher Band


JAMMING OUT: The Mighty Teacher Band performs before school during spring break spirit week.

Julia Hanson, A&E Editor

In 2005, an idea became a legacy. Former garage-band-kids Kevin Leslie, Charles Hiscock, Omar Davis and Keith Dvorkin came together to share their love of music (and teaching). As the years progressed, the band lost members but acquired English teacher Mike Melie. Now with just three, they’re not looking to sell out arenas, but can pretend with their rock wigs in the commons. 

The band operates under loose rules, not having a designated lead singer (although, Melie is the ‘hype man’). With Leslie and Dvorkin on guitar and Melie on drums, the band plays anything from classic rock to current pop. However, the trio can always agree on jamming some Jimi Hendrix.

“We all take turns singing. Whoever suggests a song will normally sing it. Actually, Mr. Dvorkin is very underrated. He’s been nervous [in the past] but we really pushed him,” Melie said. 

“That is a fact,” Dvorkin said. 

The band takes inspiration from 80s heavy metal and 90s grunge-era rock bands, like Alice in Chains and Soundgarden. 

“We like to play loud and fast that’s our mantra. We do a lot of guitar solos and play things that people will recognize while also being heavy,” Melie said. 

Performing during spring break spirit week was  Director of Student Activities, Mark Mirandola’s idea. He had been wanting to make use of the raised area in the Commons behind the cafe since the new renovation. 

“There’s a gimmick to it teachers performing in wigs,” Mirandola said. “[The original teacher band] would play regularly for teacher events like Institute Day. It was a fun thing back in the day, so the idea came up to do something different,” Mirandola said. 

When students saw their teachers and counselor on ‘stage’ with wigs and guitars, it made for a surprising scene. 

“It was initially funny to see teachers I knew in huge wigs, but I was impressed with their skills,” junior Mallory Saranecki said. 

Individually, The Mighty Teacher Band has years of experience, but kids, work, and other commitments keep the trio local instead of worldwide. 

“Our biggest weakness is finding time to play we’re also too loud. Our strength is Mr. Melie,” Dvorkin said. 

The Mighty Teacher Band practices at Leslie’s house, where they often get rowdy. 

“My wife gets a little annoyed because we’re loud when she comes home from work,” Leslie said. 

Melie, Leslie, and Dvorkin were in bands in high school, which still shows through into their current music preferences. Since before Melie’s high school band, Lunar Breakdown, he has played guitar and drums. Dvorkin was also in a band in high school called Uncle Steve. 

“I still listen to some rap. It’s embarrassing now but I liked Ice-T, The Notorious B.IG., Snoop Dogg, and Wu-Tang Clan [in high school],” Dvorkin said. 

The Commons has unfinished business as far as performances go, as Mirandola has undecided plans for new artists. 

“The idea is before-school student performances one day a week to create a cool setting and a coffee shop vibe. I’ve been in talks with music teachers to create a regular schedule for students who are willing to perform,” Mirandola said. 

Mirandola not only considers student performances but also other bands. 

“I have ideas of bringing in outside groups, but I’ll leave that under wraps for now. Maybe we will have some groups perform types of ethnic music for heritage months or weeks to recognize cultures,” Mirandola said. 

As for future goals, The Mighty Teacher Band doesn’t really have any. But that’s the point it’s a hobby they can enjoy together, making noise and bonding.

“We’re just doing this for fun. When I was in Lunar Breakdown, we were really trying to make it. That gets stressful,” Melie said. 

However, the band has considered performing live gigs.

“We’re starting to think about going out and playing at some clubs on the weekends. That might be the next phase, we’ll see,” Melie said. 

“We always talk about it, but we’ve never done it. Our momentum always gets killed by something and practices get interrupted by things like vacations, family, or COVID,” Leslie. The Mighty Teacher Band is expected to play more in the commons next year. Until then, maybe you’ll see them playing live this summer, but you probably won’t. Although, you can bet that the trio will be playing some Jimi Hendrix in Leslie’s basement, even when members come and go.