Take note: Some of your teachers were musicians

History teacher Bradley Schulte was in a band called “Like No Other”.

Despite being in a band that opened for national acts such as Zac Brown and Little Big Town, art teacher James Wodarek found that music wasn’t the type of art he wanted to focus on. 

Wodarek played drums with his brothers in a country band called The Stickers. Even though they found success, he never fell in love with performing arts.

“Music was learned, but art was something natural that I had done since I could walk,” Wodarek said. 

Wodarek is one of several Baldwin teachers with a personal history in music.

Music teacher Marissa Virgin has performed multiple times over the years in several different groups. She has been a musician for 26 years, and even though she does not professionally perform anymore, she would love to be able to do so again in the future.

As a band director, I am still a professional musician, but I do not get to perform very often anymore. As I am sure you can imagine, I tend to spend more of my time at my students’ performances than my own,Virgin said 

History teacher Brad Schulte also pursued a short stint performing music, and it has played a critical role in his life. 

While Schulte was attending college at California University of Pennsylvania, he and a group of four friends formed a group titled LNO (short for Like No Other). They performed at local venues around the campus from 2000-2001. 

The band consisted of guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard. Schulte focused on vocals and guitar. 

LNO had four original songs, but performed covers of songs like Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and Tom Petty’s “Free Falling.” Schulte has been writing solo music here and there throughout his whole life. 

For each of the teachers, music first became a part of their life in their youth.

From a young age, Virgin studied voice, piano and clarinet. Later on she became a music education major, learning how to play all of the brass, string, and woodwind instruments as well as guitar. 

Wodarek started piano lessons as a young child and later learned the drums. Through college, he was teaching drum lessons at a music store called Drum World. 

When going into college, Wodarek had to choose between majoring in music and art. 

“Art was my first passion, so I ended up becoming an art major,” he said. “But I kept playing.”

Shulte’s father introduced him to music at a young age, especially The Beatles, and he first picked up guitar in eighth grade. 

One of the most important pieces Schulte has created is a song titled “Grave Man.” The song was written about the last words his grandfather said to him before his death, which were: “I’m done, boy. I’ll see you in heaven. Be a good boy so I can see you in heaven.” 

“In my refrain on life, that’s what I keep going back to … that to me was really deep. It really struck me,” Schulte said. 

Virgin encourages all of her students to be patrons of the arts, emphasizing the need to go out and enjoy live music events to support each other as a community.

Today, Schulte would like to perform more, but because of his career and family responsibilities, this is not probable. Instead, he makes an effort to incorporate music into his own childrens’ lives, Schulte said. 

His son, Noah, 12, sings and plays guitar like his father, and his daughter, Jeana, 8, plays piano. 

“She taps her feet to keep with it when she plays. That’s impressive for only being 8 years old,” Schulte said. 

Wodarek looks fondly on his time with The Stickers but is fine putting the performer’s life behind him. The time that the band needed wasn’t feasible for him.

“There were days where I’d get back from somewhere like eastern Pennsylvania at five in the morning, and then I’d still come to work the next day,” Wodarek said. “It was time to dedicate even more time (to the band), and that was becoming harder and harder.”

All in all, music has played a critical role in the three teachers’ lives. 

“When my daughter was born, they were playing ‘Roxanne’ over the maternity ward,” Schulte said. He shares moments with his son by listening to music before big sports games. 

“Music has provided inspiration to me through probably the most important moments of my life,” he said.