Music News The Tattoo

Not your average English teacher

Jesse Stanford (Kiernan Majerus-Collins)

West Hartford, Connecticut, UNITED STATES – Jesse Stanford is an average English teacher. Except he is also the lead singer in a local band.

Jesse Stanford, lead singer of Oak Soldier and teacher at the Hartford Academy of the Arts. (Rachel Glogowski/YJI)

“I’m an English teacher by day and a rock star by night. Or by late afternoon,” Stanford said Saturday at Rock for Rights.

His band Oak Soldier has a “folk rock sound,” said Stanford. They write all their own songs, Stanford said. “We’re better at performing our own stuff than other people’s,” he said.

But the band, which has been together for a little under two years, draws their inspiration from a number of different musical performers, including Bob Dylan. And they like to listen to both classical groups such as The Beatles and more modern performers such as Radiohead.

To the “select group of musicians and English enthusiasts” out there, Stanford lists “don’t do drugs” among his suggestions.

“Just always try to stay inspired, whether you draw your inspiration from a band or a tree. Find inspiration everywhere you go,” he said, adding again, “Oh, and don’t do drugs.”

Stanford teaches at the Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford, Connecticut. Although he loves working with kids, he says that music has always been a part of his life.

“It can be tricky balancing the two sometimes,” he said.

But the English-teaching, music-writing, lead singer of Oak Soldier probably wouldn’t have it any other way.

Rachel Glogowski is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International. Kiernan Majerus-Collins, another YJI reporter, took the photo of Jesse Stanford at the top of the page.