Archer has an equestrian team, a photography society, and even a Russian club, but until this year, we were missing one thing: a school band. Now we have two: The Archdukes, an all-male faculty band, and Offbeat, the student rock band.
Whether they’re performing The Black Eyed Peas or The Beatles, the Archdukes—Daniel In, Robert Barker, Ryan Hutchison and Justin Hajj—know how to captivate an audience with their excitement and passion for music. Each member knows how to play multiple instruments and have amazed the Archer community during their lunchtime shows.
In explains that how the Archdukes first got together: “The Dukes really started out just a couple of us jamming together on the weekends. There really wasn’t any purpose to it other than to jam and relieve stress for me. When we first started off, we barely had any equipment. Mr. Hutchison quickly remedied that for us, expanding our capabilities to do more. We quickly realized we could collaborate on a lot.”
He went on to say, “It’s a time I get to share with three other brothers—where we become closer as colleagues, band mates, and as friends.”
Barker added, “One of my favorite features of rehearsal is the perennial moment in which I give [the others] grief for not knowing some obscure band from the 80s, at which point they give me grief for not knowing a current band that everyone should know. Yes, sadly, there is ageism in the Dukes.”
When asked if there was a specific moment that has stood out from the band experience so far this year, Hutchison said, “Seeing the response that the student rock band received from their peers is really the number one experience that stands out in my mind. For a student to get up in front of the entire school and play an instrument or sing is such a scary experience, and the girls in Offbeat did phenomenally.”
Offbeat is Archer’s first all-student band. Since September, these girls have been meeting every Monday at lunch working on songs and preparing performances.
So far, they’ve given two stellar performances for the Archer community. Back in February, Offbeat performed during Spirit Week, and more recently, they celebrated Earth Week in April by treating students in the Courtyard to the music of Green Day.
Both shows were impressive and “blew everyone away.” Leah Doornink ‘14, the band’s lead singer has a killer voice; more mature than you’d expect a sixteen year-old to have. Juliette Hourani ‘12 is clearly skilled and confident on guitar. Rachel Schneider ‘14, on bass, never misses a note and plays with a smile on her face. Lastly, Lulu Cerone ’17 shines on drums with her optimism and stage presence.
When asked on how the band works as a group, Cerone says, “We work really well together. We’ll each go home on the weekends, learn the song we are working on, come back to school, and play it through without hesitation. It usually takes my other bands weeks to learn songs. Also, I’m pretty much always the youngest member of any band I’ve been in, but the Archer band really makes me feel welcome and they don’t treat me like the seventh grader I am.”
It is safe to say that The Archdukes and Offbeat are living proof that Archer is blessed with a talented, creative, and passionate group of students and teachers. Who knows what wonderful and thrilling performances they’ll have in store for us next year?