Porch Party Mamas

Ms. Brady on the far left, with the accordion! (porchpartymamas.com)

-by Kiran Butte- Because Winsor students usually see their teachers in a classroom environment, it is often hard to imagine them doing anything besides teaching; when in fact, many of our teachers have other hobbies and occupations that they pursue beyond Winsor. One of these faculty members is Ms. Brady, an experienced and talented Winsor fine arts teacher, who teaches Classes II, III, and IV general music, along with more specialized courses in the Upper School. However, Ms. Brady not just a teacher; she is a bass and accordion player and is a vocalist in her very own band called Porch Party Mamas.

Porch Party Mamas is a five person female band consisting of Jane Grondin, Ksenia Mack, Katrin Peterson, Kelly Riley, and our very own Ms. Brady-Lopez. The band was formed around 7 years ago, when Riley asked some of her musician friends to join her in one of her solo performances. “We had so much fun playing together, that we decided to form the band,” said Ms. Brady. Since then, Porch Party Mamas has been writing and performing all types of music, without conforming to one genre. “Instead of focusing on a particular style of music,” Ms. Brady explains, “we write songs or arrange covers that bring out the best in our playing. If we like it, we play it, no matter what the style is.” There is also no lead singer in Porch Party Mamas; because each member has extensive knowledge and experience in music, the group determines who should sing lead as well as who should play what instruments based on the song.

Being in a band while also being a teacher can be very busy, but the rest of Porch Party Mamas knows what it is like for Ms. Brady – three out of the four other members of the band teach music as well. They have a flexible rehearsal and performance schedule that allows the band to grow and progress while letting the members continue to teach music. Although it can be very hectic at times, Ms. Brady says the support of her family and the experiences she has with her band members make Porch Party Mamas a success. “I love collaborating with the awesome women in the Porch Party Mamas,” Ms. Brady said, “They are excellent musicians and everyone contributes ideas and helps develop the songs.” Being in Porch Party Mamas also ensures Ms. Brady can continue learning and growing as a musician and teacher — another reason why the experience is so valuable to her. She explained, “We believe that playing in the band enhances our teaching and that our teaching enhances our performing.”

Balancing a band and a teaching career at Winsor must not be easy, but Ms. Brady makes it look effortless. Her love for the music makes her busy schedule well worth it. The Panel and the rest of the Winsor community cannot wait to see what comes next for the Porch Party Mamas, and wishes them the best for their future music.