Peddie alumni share the tunes they remember from their teen days
Music is a time machine.
Happy or sad, silly or contemplative, melodic or electrifying, the tunes we remember from our teen days all strike the same note: They bring us right back to Peddie.
Gene Scanlan ’60
“Summertime Blues” (Eddie Cochran), “Mule Skinner Blues” (The Fendermen), “Poor Little Fool” and “Lonesome Town” (Ricky Nelson)
It was the spring of 1960 at Peddie. Graduation was not far away, and I was living with “the other Gene” Martin, on the first floor of Coleman, first room to the right and next to Jay Cooley ’60 and “The Bull” Bob Torres ’60. Days were sunny and warm, and sometimes time seemed to slow down. One of the newest facilities on campus was actually one of the oldest – the Longstreet Library, completed in 1890. The former library, just replaced by the new Annenberg Library, now housed a student canteen. Ten years later, it would be the site for a student takeover and protest about issues such as dress codes, disciplinary procedures and the student constitution. But in 1960, it was just a place to hang out, get a Coke, take a break from the Slater System (the school’s food service) meals and play the jukebox. I would often go there in the afternoon when it was almost empty, get my Coke and select some songs. “Summertime Blues” by proto-rocker Eddie Cochran was a favorite, as was “Mule Skinner Blues,” a strange song by The Fendermen and Ricky Nelson’s “Poor Little Fool” and “Lonesome Town.” Maybe my mind was elsewhere.
Mary Stella ’75
Jim Croce, The Beatles, Elvis Presley
I was a big Jim Croce fan, and remember I was in my room in Avery when I heard the news of his fatal plane crash. I also listened a lot to The Beatles and Elvis Presley!
Robert Berman ’59
“The Great Pretender” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” (The Platters), “All of You” (Cole Porter), “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Hound Dog” (Elvis Presley), “Cry” (Johnnie Ray & The Four Lads)
I remember hearing the Lester Lanin Orchestra at the junior and senior proms.
Ken Seyffer ’39
Benny Goodman, Carnegie Hall concert
Every night, when Duncan Talbot ’40 and I would be studying in our room, I would always have a book in front of my radio, so I could put Goodman on softly, at 9:30, so no one but me could hear. One night our proctor came in, stood right next to my desk and talked to me. He knew, and I was shaking. He never said a word, but I never did it again.
Barbarajean (Grundlock) Fountoulakis ’05
It was my senior year, and we were at Community Meeting. Chris Ransom ’06 and his band were on stage. It may have been a bit for Blair Week. During my time there, if there was music to be played, Chris Ransom and his band were there for it, rocking out. I had just started talking to this sophomore, Nick Fountoulakis ’07. You see where this is going, right? I thought he was cute, and he was in Chris’ band, which was even cooler! There was some time to waste on stage, and to fill the void, Nick started playing “Clocks” by Coldplay on the piano. I’m telling you, that is the moment I fell in love with that kid. That moment is imprinted in my brain forever. Anytime I hear that song, it brings me back to that day in Community Meeting, sitting in the theater watching him play. Peddie has this way of bringing people together as a community that’s really something special. We all feel connected. Not only that, but it brought me to my future husband and father of my children. Thank you, Peddie!
B.J. Bedford Miller ’90
“Beaches” soundtrack (Bette Midler), “Welcome to the Jungle” (Guns N’ Roses), “Kokomo” (The Beach Boys)
“Beaches” soundtrack in Avery. “Welcome to the Jungle,” swimmers. And oh Lord, every time I hear “Kokomo,” it makes me think of doing dry-land training in the wrestling room in the wee hours of the morning.
Julie Saker Schlegel ’90
“Cheeseburger in Paradise” (Jimmy Buffett), They Might Be Giants, Violent Femmes, “Cherish” (Madonna)
I remember “Cheeseburger in Paradise” dance parties in Kassia Switlik Bukosky’s ’88 dorm room in Coleman my freshman year (’86–’87) and a lot of They Might Be Giants and Violent Femmes from the Trask years. I also distinctly remember MTV playing Madonna’s “Cherish” video often and the girls’ dorm being rather transfixed by the male college swimmers frolicking in the California surf as “mermen.”
Doug Stuart ’76
“Ramblin’ Man” (The Allman Brothers)
My first year at Peddie, I lived in Wilson Hall (RIP), third floor south. Our hall monitor, a junior, was a gifted guitarist who played the Allman Brothers (and others) over and over, and then replicated the guitar riffs. You’d think this would be annoying, but I actually found it comforting. Later that year, the guys in Latin 2 began this odd tradition of listening to Edgar Winters’ “Frankenstein” before each quiz or test. Later at Peddie, I grew to love choral music (Vivaldi’s “Gloria”) and opera, but those guitar riffs still haunt my memories.
Jon Sprout ’70
A concert by a Middlebury College a capella group
I don’t remember the songs nor the performers’ names. But once upon a time, I sat as a student in Geiger-Reeves Hall while an a capella group performed a few songs that forever changed my life. I remember this experience so vividly that I can still see the view from where I sat. That performance awakened something inside of me I never knew existed. It was as though those singers and their songs swept my entire life into a new dimension. From that performance onward, music has been something extraordinary and personal for me. Middlebury was my first college choice because of those singers. Years later, after having forged a career writing, performing and recording songs, I returned to Peddie to perform on the same stage. I shared this story with the audience, hoping I could facilitate the cycle of inspiration.
Kenneth Patchen ’63
“Now The Day is Over” (Sabine Baring-Gould)
Peddie was founded in 1864, one year before the Civil War ended. In 1865, English Anglican priest Sabine Baring-Gould, who wrote “Onward Christian Soldiers,” composed the single song that to this day in 2021 is that which I most associate with my years at The Peddie School, “Now the Day is Over.”
It is a song virtually as old as the school. I graduated in 1963, and during my years at Peddie, the school came together on Sunday evening in the chapel for a Vespers service, just to sing hymns.
School chaplain Harold Stoddard stood in the pulpit and pointed to students who called out the number of the hymn to be sung, about six hymns per session. One of the most frequently selected songs in the year was “Now the Day is Over.” It was wonderful.
At no other time in my years there did I feel as connected to The Peddie School experience as I did while we sang that song together. I loved lots of music in those days — Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, The Kingston Trio, Duke Ellington. I am not a religious person, so I’ve never heard the hymn since I left the school. I’m 76 now, and often in a quiet moment at bedtime, I will sing the first verse in my head: “Now the day is over/Night is drawing nigh/Shadows of the evening/Steal across the sky.”
Declan Mulligan ’14
The early 2010s electronic dance music movement
Whenever I listen to an artist, track or collection of artists from this specific genre and time, I am blasted right back to walking across the quad for class with my headphones in, laughing with friends on the way to Wawa or intense moments of motivation in the locker rooms. It’s aging contemporarily, yet it’s easy to identify with a specific sound within the genre that would indicate a special moment in time in 2009–2014. I will listen to some old albums such as Anjunadeep 05 and artists such as the late Avicii and Swedish House Mafia, which swept the Class of 2014 into a several-trimesters-long obsession. Good times.
Lauren Schnipper ’97 and Sara Chancellor ’97
“Better Man” (Pearl Jam)
Lauren Schnipper Rausch ’97 and Sara Chancellor Case ’97 were Peddie roommates for three years. Lauren attests to going through a phase when she was “upset about a boy,” and the only song she wanted to listen to was “Better Man.”
Sara: She played the song on repeat in our room in Avery so many times it’s permanently burned into my mind. I think it was during your platform sneaker time.
Lauren: I had a lot of platform sneakers.
Sara: The irony was, I was probably the bigger Pearl Jam fan.
Lauren: Okay … ?
Sara: I have a more diverse perspective on the album. Schnipper was pretty much “Better Man” all the time.
Lauren: It’s a really good song.
Sara: I think I might have initially thought that it was a good song.
Lauren: I think it was junior year because I know the boy I was upset about. I’m not mentioning his name.
Sara: I can guess, but I’ll keep that in the cone of silence.
Editor: What is it about the song that you like so much?
Lauren: I mean, I LOVE Eddie Vedder. It’s just … his voice.
Editor: What do you think when you hear the song now?
Lauren: Love it still.
Sara (laughing): Hate it still. I absolutely hate it still.
David Samuelson ’81
“Close to the Edge” (Yes)
We lived in Rivenburg in 1980. One of our classmates went to a Yes concert and took a lot of pictures, which he turned into slides. We got our hands on a slide projector, cranked the album and watched the slides using the house across the street as our screen. Those were our Yes shows.
Richard Hutchinson ’71
“Tiny Bubbles” (Don Ho)
The old canteen in Longstreet Hall had a jukebox, whose selections were controlled by I don’t know who. Most were fine, but somehow this song got onto it, and someone played it ALL THE TIME.
Kieran Beach ’15
“My Time of Day” (“Guys and Dolls” soundtrack)
I was working in set crew for the theater, and “Guys and Dolls” was one of the first large productions I participated in. For some reason, the music in “My Time of Day” always resonated with me. It is a song of courting, but also a way of sharing a private life ... and in that intimacy and vulnerability the song really shines as a favorite of mine. Now that I am older (not much, but I did find a gray hair yesterday), I can also appreciate the sense of being starstruck when falling in love, and the bewilderment of suddenly finding someone you want to keep talking to until the sun comes up. I remember painting the sets with neon-colored black-light paint, working in the sound booth and installing the spiral staircase we got from Long Island. At the moment, I am in Colombia, it is almost 1 a.m., and I just went for a walk in the rain by some palm trees and watched the street dogs run about. Like in the song, I guess this has always been my time of day too, strolling by the lampposts after hours.
L.A. Martin ’02
“Here Comes the Sun” (The Beatles)
I remember when George Harrison died during my senior year. We played “Here Comes the Sun” on repeat out of the dorm window into center campus all day.
Rebecca Seman ’14
“Let’s Go” (Matt and Kim)
Just thinking of this song reminds me of Peddie! It makes me nostalgic for senior year because it would play as we walked into Community Meeting (I believe Megan Mooney ’14 and Patrick Creamer ’14 were the ones responsible for this choice). The song is so uplifting and positive and would always put me in a good mood, no matter the kind of day I was having.
Erika LaRocca ’98
“Ironic” (Alanis Morissette)
Erika: Mr. Hill sang a spoof on “Ironic.”
Former English teacher Bill Hill: “Ironic” was part of the hosting job (Peter) Quinn and I did for a Falcon Follies (the annual talent show). We took popular/well-known songs to the audience at the time and read them as if they were serious, well-written poems/verses. In addition to “Ironic,” I recall doing “Bohemian Rhapsody” (head-banging included, à la “Wayne’s World”) and “Peaches” (The Presidents of the United States of America). We spaced the readings out over the course of the show. I’m thinking I probably sang/yelled the chorus to “Ironic.” Quinn and I had a lot of fun doing those readings as we hosted.
Head of School (and former English teacher) Peter Quinn: Bill’s memory has always been and will always be better than mine. I remember that I have never performed with someone who made me look that good ... and he’s always the better performer. He’s just a very generous partner.
We did a rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” in the old dining hall at the peak of lunch. My own contribution elicited this comment from the inimitable Bill McMann: “Hey, P.Q. — what were you, the dead Supreme?”
Bill Hill: Peter’s being modest: Best Improv Partner Ever. And willing to do anything, just go with it, no matter where the moment took us. Quinn and I lip-synched “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” with the one and only Crystal Oliver ’88. We were the stiff-arms-and-legs back-up to her vibrant, classy, shimmery lead singer. It had been a rough week at school, so we performed at lunch to try to lift spirits, however briefly.
Guilia Marolda ’18
“Livin’ On A Prayer” (Bon Jovi)
This song reminds me of one of my all-time favorite Peddie memories. For Blair Week 2018, me, Cristian Rodriguez ’18, Ethan Govea ’19, Dan Funderbirk ’19, Victor Cappuzzo ’19 and Winston Luchs ’19 put together a band to perform at both Community Meeting and Blue and Gold Chapel. “Livin’ On A Prayer” was our Community Meeting performance, and I still have vivid memories of waiting behind the drawn curtain, hearing our classmates scream out in excitement as the lights dimmed and the music started. We were all decked out in our Decades Day outfits, and the energy during the performance was electrifying. Hearing that song takes me back to the excitement of that week, and to a performance I won’t soon forget.
I recall vividly that Richard Rose ’78 couldn't wait for us to hear this new album from his hometown of Asbury Park, N.J. 'Born to Run' became the anthem for junior year. It played and played and played in the halls of Kerr.”
— Kurt Bilderback ’78
Cristian Rodriguez ’18
“Home” (Phillip Phillips)
Being able to perform this song to welcome new students to Peddie was one of the highlights of my Peddie experience. After graduation, hearing this song continues to remind me of what Peddie means to me and my fellow Falcons (both past and present).
Gabriel Spadaccini ’13
“When I Was Your Man” (Bruno Mars)
I remember there was an IceHouse (open mic) one year when it seemed EVERYONE performed this song. Super-sad track overall, but it was cool to hear everyone's different rendition of it. Coffeehouse and Icehouse were some of the best events at Peddie. Such good vibes.
Albert Cao ’13
“Guys and Dolls” (2012 Peddie Winter musical)
Amazing time with the pit band.
Paul Treichler ’02
“Intergalactic” ( Beastie Boys)
As a day student, I listened to a lot of music during the long bus ride through central N.J. each morning, starting at 6 a.m., on the way to Peddie. In the winter, it was often completely dark outside. Brant Hillman ’01 was on that bus with me. We found common ground in music and he introduced me to the Beastie Boys. To this day, when I hear “Intergalactic,” I am taken back to that dark bus ride through the countryside, blasting Beastie Boys on my Sony mini-disc player, while completing the day's homework.
Jessica Bruschini (Nairn) ’02
“Dancing in the Dark” (Bruce Springsteen), “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” (Lauryn Hill)
In the Grille for the Bruce song, played on the jukebox in the corner all the time while we ate doughnuts and mozzarella sticks! Lauryn Hill reminds me of freshman year, women's soccer, that timeframe in general.
Watching MTV in the senior lounge. MTV played music videos during the 1980s.”
— Harley Aronson ’88
Scott Atkinson ’02
The Percolator was THE song that got everyone on the dance floor at school dances. I will reserve the many ridiculous stories that surround this song for my classmates at reunion.
Ryuji Komiya ’00
“Free Fallin’” (Tom Petty)
Every time we were on our way to vacation or long weekend, we listened to this song, screaming out that we were “free to go.”
Danny Adlerman ’81
“Carry on Wayward Son” (Kansas), “Let Me Take You Home Tonight” (Boston)
Both are evocative of the canteen: The first reminds me of Wilson Hall, where I discovered it and so many other incredible songs at the tender age of 13. Talk about mind-expanding! The second was in the then newly restored Robert O. Driver student center. Every time a particular young lady walked in — every single time, mind you — I had to play the song on the jukebox. She knows who she is and I'm sure a few of my friends remember as well, but I will spare the name to avoid her any embarrassment (you know, for her having made the wrong choice years later, for which I owe her thanks).
Illustrations by Eric Nyquist