Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 29, 2016

READY TO ROCK? The Otho Winger Experience practices for their big performance Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 in Cordier Auditorium. VIA credit.

MU Professors Rock!

Sarah Farnam

Although not universally known to Manchester University students, their professors are talented in areas other than literary analysis or marketing prowess. The Otho Winger Experience is a band composed of professors and staff members that first began rocking in 2005. On Tuesday, May 3, from 3:30-5 p.m., the group will perform in Cordier Auditorium. Though the band has many members, three shared the tales of their secret lives as rock stars.

Judd Case, associate professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies, wears many hats in the band. In addition to strumming both an electric and acoustic guitar, he occasionally takes the microphone. “As a group, we take turns on lead vocals, and whomever's knees aren't knocking loudly enough can find a microphone in front of their mouth,” he explained.

Case has been involved in music since his elementary school days. “In high school, in a desperate attempt to stop bullies from comparing me to Anthony Michael Hall's character in ‘The Breakfast Club,’ I formed a garage band with my friends,” he said. Since then, he has performed at a variety of events, and explains that he came out of semi-retirement in order to be a part of the Otho Winger Experience.

Dan Chudzynski, director of Marketing, will sing and play keyboard. Chudzynski has played in various bands for almost 40 years. “I’ve played in nightclubs, hotel lounges, proms, wedding receptions, big stages backing up national acts, the state fair, garages and parade floats,” he said. “I even played a gig on a pontoon boat once.” Over the years, his musical repertoire has expanded. “Listening now to a classic rock station, I find that I’ve played, at one time or another, most of the songs they play,” he said.

Mark Bryant, associate professor of chemistry, plays bass guitar and keyboard for the band. He has a long musical background as well, including 10 years of piano lessons and two years as a music major. A self-taught guitar player, he plays for his church and is in an oldies/classic “rock’n’country” band.

Bryant is looking forward to surprising students who may not be aware that their professors have musical talent. “We have many professional-quality people in the band, and we like putting on a high-energy show,” he said.

Chudzynski shares Bryant’s excitement. “I like that it shows a different side of the faculty – it shows that they have other interests and can let their hair down in front of their students,” he said.

According to Case, his favorite part of performing for the school is when the students realize that the performance is for them. “We want them to share a moment with us, to feel the power of live music, and to have a great memory of their time at Manchester,” he explained. “There's a ton of hard work behind the scenes—for us, for the dancers, for the Cordier staff, for Marketing, for the custodians—but none of us would be doing this without the students.”

The three band members confirmed that the set list is top secret. “A splendid time is guaranteed for all,” Bryant assured.