End of an Era: Casual Fridays Calls it Quits

Members of the teacher band go their separate ways to inspire student musicians.
Casual Fridays pose for a picture after their Welcome to Winter Day performance in December of 2018. The band spent 9 years together with some rotating members in their lineup.
Casual Fridays pose for a picture after their Welcome to Winter Day performance in December of 2018. The band spent 9 years together with some rotating members in their lineup.

There aren’t many ways to get students excited. While everyone is very different, there is one thing many students have in common. Music. 

Whether it’s a love for singing, playing, or listening to music it’s a way for people to connect on different levels. 

Many students know about Dallastown’s teacher band: Casual Fridays. After many years together, 2022-2023’s school year was the last the band performed together. 

The band was formed in the winter of 2015 by algebra teacher Elliot Gotteloeb, philosophy teacher Matthew Rojahn, and history teacher Paul Lumsargis. 

According to Lumsargis, the band’s bass player, “The original idea to form the band came from Mr. Gottloeb who was new to the school but had an extensive music background.”

Bass player Paul Lumsargis smiles for a picture at their bands final practice before the last day of school in 2023. (Angela Gable)

Casual Fridays practiced after school on Fridays in Gottloeb’s room. Gottloeb played guitar and often sang. Their practices would pay off at Welcome to Winter Day, Mini-Thon, and the last day of school.

Subject to what many people would believe, the band members all only had positive memories to share. 

“I enjoyed the catharsis of getting together with friends and making music and the end of the work week,” English teacher and vocalist Bethany Yuninger shared.

Many students may be wondering why the band broke up- seemingly unexpectedly.

“I know I was feeling overwhelmed by other school activities and in the classroom requirements that I couldn’t give as much time to practicing outside of school,” social studies teacher, vocalist, and keyboardist Marell Beyer explains. “We were all feeling pulled in different directions.”

However, there is still music to be shared without the teacher band.

“After the 2022-2023 school year, Mr. Gottloeb wanted to focus on developing a student-run rock band where he could advise them and be a mentor. After nearly nine years, he felt it was time to refocus on student talent,” Lumsargis said.

The school’s student band is called Message, Received and already performed at this year’s Welcome to Winter Day.

“It was time for the students to take over,” vocalist and guitarist Gottloeb shared. “As much as the teachers enjoyed it, some of us will be retiring soon and I didn’t want to leave a musical vacuum.”

Guitarist Elliot Gottloeb and vocalist Bethany Yuninger perform for Welcome to Winter Day in 2019. (Angela Gable)

Part of the reason Gottloeb wanted to let the students take over is because he has plans to move to England in a few years. 

“When I move, my plans are to teach and join a band,” Gottloeb stated.

The teachers all agreed it was nice to let students see a different side of them through their music.

“Students often see teachers as just teachers. We all have lives and hobbies outside of our professional duties and responsibilities. It was neat to see students see us in a different light and I think it contributed to a positive school culture,” Lumsargis said.

For Gottloeb, another positive aspect of the teacher band was, “giving the students the experience of a concert without having to travel.” 

While the breaking up of Casual Fridays was disappointing for many people throughout the school, Gottloeb explains it has brought new opportunities for students now and students to come. 

“I think this sort of thing helps form some pretty strong memories for students and I’m glad we could be a part of that.”

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