Retired Affton Teacher’s New Music Career Is a Wild Ride
Gary Schoenberger has taken time to pursue his love of rock music since retiring last spring.
It’s not your father’s retirement any more. Gary Schoenberger, 58, who recently retired from teaching in the Affton School District after 23 years, has been spending his golden years playing in a rock band called Yessir! Now, he embarks on a solo musical career with his new Gary Schoenberger's Travelin' Solo Road Show.
“This is something I’ve always wanted to do,” said Schoenberger, who wears a leather jacket and earring and holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree from UMSL. “It’s different from playing in the Yessir! band, where I’m jumping around, rockin’ out. This is just my guitar and I.”
He writes all of his songs, including one that is particularly special to him: “Holidays With You.”
“I find holidays can be a little bittersweet,” he said. “We look back with a nostalgic eye while enjoying the moment at hand. For me, it's looking back on holidays when my kids were young. It's simple and uncomplicated.”
Along with Yessir!, Schoenberger has donated his time for the last 11 years playing a yearly charity fundraiser started in memory of a friend. He has been playing music all his life, having played in bands all through high school.
“I used to be a teacher who played music, but now I’m a musician who was a teacher,” he said.
Schoenberger was the head of science curriculum at the Affton School District and also encouraged involvement in outdoor and adventure education.
“At one time, I worked with the late Marlin Perkins in his local effort to save endangered wolves,” he said. “I'm a big believer in experiential education.”
The father of two and stepfather of three is experiencing new things since his recent marriage and retirement at the end of 2009-2010 school year. Luckily, his wife Mandy doesn't mind that he no longer lives the stable life of a teacher, but is along with Schoenberger for the wild ride.
"She supports my music,” he said. “Her father was jazz musician George Lehmann, so she’s used to it.”
Schoenberger is no stranger to trying new things. Seven years ago, in an effort to support the interest of one of his daughters, Schoenberger ended up getting into horseback riding.
“I have two horses,” he said. “A 22-year-old thoroughbred retired race horse who thinks he's three and still on the track and a thoroughbred/quarter horse mix. I love riding. I find it clears my head and is good for the soul.”
Even though Schoenberger is no longer teaching, he recalls how students would react when they found out their teacher was a rocker.
“They came to some of our family-oriented performances,” he said. “I still love seeing former students at shows."
Schoenberger’ next solo performance is Tuesday January 18 at The Stone Spiral Coffee House in Maplewood at 6 p.m. Yessir! will play at George's on Clayton Jan. 22 at 9 p.m. For more information, see his page at Reverb Nation.
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