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  • Jack Carrabine and Dennis Hickey

Playing in the Band: Spencer Finds Niche at LFHS

By Jack Carrabine and Dennis Hickey

You may think Danny Spencer is just an ordinary senior, but there is a lot about Spencer that you don’t know.

Spencer moved to Lake Forest in the summer of 2020 during the peak of the Covid-19 era. As it is already challenging to assimilate yourself into a new town and school, the added complications that were brought by Covid made the transition even harder for Spencer.

“There’s not much I find more fulfilling than starting a band from scratch, running practice, finding covers, writing songs, finding a gig, and performing,” says Danny Spencer.

“It’s rough meeting about 50 new people a day, especially with only half of their face out of a mask,” said Spencer.

However, one way Spencer was able to find his niche in LFHS was through music. Spencer has always been a talented musician and wanted to keep pursuing this passion when he transferred to LFHS. A couple of ways he did this was by participating in Jazz Band, Pit Orchestra, as well as volunteering at School of Rock in Highwood.

“Jazz Band and Pit Orchestra are both very beneficial for a musician since they offer various opportunities and avenues to learning different styles of music,” said Spencer.

It has always been an enjoyment of Spencer’s to gather a group of friends to create a band. When Spencer moved to Lake Forest it was with the help of senior Holden Docherty to get the band underway.

Spencer and Docherty had numerous classes together and they quickly realized their shared passion for Music. Spencer then decided he wanted to start a band with Docherty as he noticed “how well our tastes in music matched up.”

Spencer was referred to a talented bassist named Nick Slover through the help of former LFHS student Casey Hippel and senior Robert Medica. Yet as the band began to form, they still needed a drummer.

But this solution was quickly fixed when Docherty was able to adapt to the drums after having a past with playing the instrument. And just like that, their band, Sugar Weather, was formed.

“There’s not much I find more fulfilling than starting a band from scratch, running practice, finding covers, writing songs, finding a gig, and performing,” said Spencer.

After creating Sugar Weather, Spencer needed to find the band’s musical identity. At first, the band was playing anything from ska to metal genre. Recently, however, they settled into more of a “bluesy, southern rock-influenced” type of band.

Sugar Weather typically finds themselves covering mostly Led Zeppelin, Cream, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

“These bands never fail to make it on a setlist,” said Spencer.

Besides covering songs, Spencer and Sugar Weather wrote and produced their original song named Natural Mystic in June of 2022. They released their song on Apple Music as well as performed it in front of a live audience at the Earth Day kickoff event in Market Square, Croya Battle of the Bands, and Highland Park Family day this Fall.

Having an extracurricular activity mixed in with homework and studying is not easy, and it is especially tough when you are swamped and stressed with a seemingly endless amount of schoolwork in a new school setting. However, music for Spencer has been a way for him to cope with the stresses of school.

“Music has always been something I do to get back in a better headspace,” said Spencer. This story was first published in The Forest Scout.

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