Roanoke Faculty Create Band
In addition to office hours, three Roanoke College faculty members are holding practice sessions – and they aren’t for an upcoming exam
Faculty by day, band members by night. Practice sessions in a friend's basement and playing gigs filled with cover songs are pretty ordinary happenings for your average band, but when the basement is in a professor's home and the band members are the people grading your final exams, things become a little less typical. Dr. Richard Grant, associate professor of physics, Dr. Michael Maina, associate professor in health and human performance and Dr. Chris Buchholz, assistant professor of psychology, began their band, buc9d9, in the fall of 2008.
The band's beginning was a long time coming, as the trio had kidded before many a faculty meeting that they should start a band as Grant plays guitar, Buchholz plays the bass and Maina plays the drums. Buchholz and Grant had both played for audiences in the past, but Maina never before had played for a crowd. The creation of the band was something of an accident because the band members are all younger professors and often cross paths.
Performing is a way for them to relax and have fun, and the members acknowledge their relationship as faculty at the College first in the creation of their band. "Being at a small college like Roanoke, there are many opportunities for faculty to be in the same place at the same time. There is good interaction between faculty, and you are constantly coming across each other in a way that wouldn't be possible at a large school," says Maina.
The first order of business when the band began was to choose a name, and with three faculty members with Ph.D.s, it is easy to imagine the selection process as a difficult one. The band began with a large number of choices, and the actual decision turned into a family affair when Maina's son saw a monitor the band had recently purchased at a music store with a price tag of $199.00. Maina's son said, "Dad, you're a buck ninety-nine!" Remove the "k" from buck and you have Buchholz's nickname, and buc9d9 was created, a choice with several meanings for the group and the first of many collaborative efforts between the band members.
Since the band's beginning last fall, they have played many performances in the area with audiences ranging from 30 to 100 people. The group plays all cover songs, and their style of music is rock-classic, newer and alternative. The band's goal is to perform songs that people can enjoy. They play music you could find on Guitar Hero, and for this faculty crew that means anything from Pink Floyd to Coldplay. The band can't seem to agree on one favorite song to play, with Maina's being "Comfortably Numb" by Pink Floyd, which is usually a closing song for the band but a selection they play really well. "When we play that song, they want more!" Maina says. Buchholz enjoys his personal favorite, "The Bucket" by Kings of Leon, because, he says, "It is really fun to sing."
Maina's favorite part about being in a band is the camaraderie between the band members. "We are colleagues but we have gotten to know each other in a completely different way."
This band of Roanoke faculty members is open to coming to campus but most looks forward to the opportunities they will have to play local gigs once or twice a month that students can attend. "Whether we're good or not, students will come. They want to know, 'Can our professors really play?' jokes Maina. The trio's goal is not to become professional, but to sound good and have a fun time.
For more information on the band, visit: