Teachers Reveal Their Favorite Tunes

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If you’re looking for a way to momentarily escape Groton’s winter blues, look no further than our faculty. With their tastes in music ranging from heavy metal to country, you’re sure to find something that will help break you out of Groton’s dreary and dark winter, even if only for three minutes.


Mr. Kohn

In the words of Kanye West, “My music isn’t just music – it’s medicine.” This certainly rings true for English teacher Jake Kohn, who lists Kanye as his favorite artist and Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy as his favorite album. What Mr. Kohn likes so much about Kanye is that “he has the vision and courage needed to reinvent himself.”


Mr. Kohn’s love for Kanye stems from his high school days. He has vivid memories of how inspirational Kanye was; specifically, how listening to Kanye’s “All of the Lights” got Mr. Kohn to “think about having the confidence to ask for the spotlight, to believe that you were smart enough or fast enough that you wanted every light in the place on you, just so you could be seen.”


Kanye wasn’t the only artist that Mr. Kohn enjoyed listening to in high school he frequently played tunes by U2, Death Cab, Elton John. the XX and more.


Through his appreciation for music, Mr. Kohn was able to better understand his high school aged self: “I’d hear my emotions in the sounds, or I’d imagine my story in the lyrics.”


Mr. Lamont

If you’ve been at Groton for long enough, you have certainly noticed the big black-and-white “The Not” stickers stuck on a plethora of students’ laptops. For those that don’t know, The Not is the name of history teacher Tom Lamont’s college band. Mr. Lamont has been an avid fan of music since he was young, and while his music taste has ranged from country to heavy metal, he lists “Play It Again” by Luke Bryan, and “Young Man Blues” by The Who as some of his favorite songs.


“‘Play It Again’ is simply a perfect pop song – short, melodic, and memorable. The lyrics, the chords, and the song structure are very basic, but it all just comes together magically, at least for me… I am touched by the simple message that, no matter how awkward it may seem, love is possible,” he says.


Mrs. Maqubela

English teacher Vuyelwa Maqubela enjoys listening to different South African artists: “I love listening to all kinds of South African artists, including Brenda Fassie, Zahara, Sibongile Khumalo and Hugh Masekela.” In addition, she also enjoys several American artists such as Diana Ross, Bruno Mars and the band The Temptations.


Mrs. Maqubela recounted how sentimental she gets: “Just listening to oldies and South African music reminds me of home and of growing up in South Africa, where people love to listen to good music and dance.”


Laurie Sales


Drama teacher Laurie Sales uses music as a medium for finding inspiration, fun and ambition in daily tasks. She says, “I listen to EDM or other kinds of music with a serious beat when I clean the house or am doing some kind of crafting project… When I’m driving, I like to sing loudly… If I want to be inspired in my creative brain, I listen to Dan Mangan or Gabriel Rios or Regina Spektor – music where the sweeping sounds move me while the lyrics provide an instigation for my imagination.”


Laurie lists “everything on the Dear Evan Hansen or Hamilton soundtrack,” as her favorite songs, although she also says she’s found a deep love for the music of Cabaret.


Mrs. Bannard

Latin teacher Mary Frances Bannard finds that, although her favorite artist/band is constantly changing, she does have some constants – Sufjan Stevens, James Taylor, the Beatles, Josh Ritter, and Taylor Swift. In addition, she professed a love for Elton John’s “Your Song.” She recalled, “Mr. Bannard put it on a mix CD when we were first dating (in days of yore, i.e. the pre-iPod/digitized music era), and so it has always been special. We danced to it at our wedding.”


Mrs. Bannard spent her high school days listening to the likes of the Dave Matthews Band, Guster, John Mayer, and Elton John. “After I turned 16, I drove a beaten-up Ford Explorer to and from school, and I was responsible for shuttling my two younger brothers from place to place. Probably my best memories surrounding music are in that car, on those rides, solo or with my brothers or friends, blasting music and singing at the top of my lungs,” she says.