By: David Czarlinsky and Kelly Marmo Lynn University contributing writers
Lynn University staff and faculty have been recognized for their work, accolades and dedication to the Lynn community. However, outside of academics, some members of the Fighting Knight community have hobbies that may come as a surprise to others.
Lynn President Kevin M. Ross and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Anthony Altieri transform into musical gurus after office hours as a part of Lynn’s homegrown cover band, Wolfhawk.
It all started from a bet between Dr. Cox, vice president for Academic Affairs, and President Ross a few years ago. The conditions of the bet stated that in just 45 days, Ross would have to put together a band to perform at the Celebration of the Arts. This bet led to the beginning of Wolfhawk, a cover band like no other.
Wolfhawk consists of President Ross as lead guitarist, Dr. Altieri playing drums, Adam Beighley, at guitar, Jay Brandt as their lead singer and Alex Keller playing bass guitar.
“We wanted to lose this bet,” Ross said. “I always wanted to be in a band, rock stars have all of the fun.”
“We had 45 days to get everything ready to go and we put as many practices together as we could and learned 5 songs,” said Brandt, lead singer. “We were extremely nervous, but we got it done.”
After their first performance in Lynn’s AG theater, they were asked to play at a backyard party. The band was paid in swordfish.
When deciding to continue on with the band, the group decided on the name “Wolfhawk”.
“I named it after a 1987 Jeep Wagoneer that I bought on eBay,” Ross said. “I went to North Carolina to pick it up and the owner said the car had an animal spirit name called Wolfhawk.”
The name Wolfhawk is now patented, and Ross still owns the 1987 Jeep.
Wolfhawk performs mostly rock music and some contemporary music, with inspiration from Foo Fighters and other influential rock bands.
Each member brings to the table a different favorite band or version of rock music. Ross enjoys gritty rock like Stone Temple Pilots and AC/DC along with Drivin N Cryin and Cracker. Beighley notes his love for Led Zeppelin.
Wolfhawk may cover songs of several rock bands, but hopes to do some acoustic sets in the future. They also noted that they have worked on lyrics for their own music, which they hope to publish in the future.
Alteri had prior experience playing drums, but the other members of Wolfhawk have learned their instruments within the last 5 years of playing together.
“Alex was in a Christian rock band called Ambient Soul,” said Ross. “He reminds the band of Will Farrell and is the only millennial in the band with no kids.”
Each member, aside from Keller, have children who show support and love for Wolfhawk. Dr. Alteri and President Ross mention how their kids take an interest in the band.
“My kids like it a lot,” said Altieri. “My 6-year-old at the Boca Bowl wanted to come on stage.”
President Ross’s children are older and not as enthusiastic about the band. One day, his daughter found out his dad was Snapchat famous and was overjoyed.
“I had this moment where I felt pretty cool, and that’s rare,” Ross said. “My daughter told me one of her friends posted a video of Wolfhawk on Snapchat and said, ‘This band is dope.’”
Wolfhawk has played several performances at various locations, including the Boca Resort, various wedding performances for alumni of Lynn, garages and backyards of friends and family and this past December at the Boca Raton Bowl.
Lynn plays a big part in their band and helps them with merchandise and support. Beighley does not think of President Ross and Dr. Alteri as Lynn administration during band activities.
“I don’t think of them like that,” Beighley said. “I think of them as good friends, and cool dads.”
Brandt is an alum of Lynn and worked at Lynn for 15 years. Wolfhawk has never had trouble separating the band from their work life.
“It’s amazing to think what their professions are because when we are playing music it’s just playing with the guys,” Brandt said. “The day jobs tuck away once we start playing.”
Dr. Alteri does not think about his work life during band practices.
“It is something done in my spare time and something that I enjoy doing,” Alteri said. He stated that they have come along way since the beginning. When discussing the beginning of the band he said, “I was expecting a lot worse.”
As for their audience, it continues to grow. Starting off with mostly Lynn students, faculty, and alum grew into a wider audience of the Boca Raton area. Because of new sets and performances, the band has gained fans from South America and Colorado, who watched Wolfhawk perform at a wedding at a resort in Key West.
“Work floats away,” Beighley said. “You have to pay enough attention while you’re playing that you can’t think about the rest of your life. You can be completely engaged with people and let off steam.”
Wolfhawk played for the third time at the after party for the Celebration of the Arts. The members of Wolfhawk encourage Lynn students to jump out of their comfort zones, and try new things even when it seems like its too late.
“Try and stick with it and do it with people you want to,” said Ross. “Make it up as you go along.”