As his first year teaching first grade at Brooklyn Friends School in New York comes to a close, Ryan Thornton ’02 is trading his chalk for drumsticks in preparation for the release of Sean Bones’ (seanbones.com) new album, Buzzards Boy.
A drummer since high school, Thornton has toured nationally with RANA, which played some of its first gigs at Lafayette, and Sam Champion, a band he co-founded in 2002 with longtime friend Noah Chernin, which has released two albums, Slow Rewind and Heavenly Bender. For the past 10 years, he has been drumming with Sean Bones and other musicians.
An American Studies graduate, Thornton says, “My education at Lafayette gave me a passion for knowledge. As we toured the country, I was always the one giving history lessons to the other guys and the one who made everybody pull the van over for a great view or interesting historical site. Andy Smith, associate professor of English, particularly inspired in me a deep love and appreciation of this country, and I was fortunate enough to traverse it many times after college.”
Thornton, who had wide-ranging interests, took courses in music, history, English, and art. He says, “Professor Ian Smith taught me how to dissect and find the true meaning behind a book, a sentence, a word; Professor [Lori] Dobbins introduced me to jazz; and Professor [Robert] Mattison taught me to see the beauty in all art.”
Although Thornton, who is completing his master’s in early childhood education at Brooklyn College, says he misses being on the road a bit, “teaching is what I want to be doing right now and maybe forever. It’s a wonderful profession, extremely rewarding and challenging at the same time.”
Buzzards Boy will be released May 8 at The Rock Shop, Brooklyn, N.Y., a venue known for showcasing international, national, and local rock bands.