With standing room only, “The Too Many String Band,” packed in a crowd at their monthly performance at Saint’s Rest.
Professors Mark Schneider, Physics, Robert Cadmus, Physics, Sigmund Barber, German, Professor Emeritus Sandy Moffett, Theater, Betty Moffett, Hugh Sheridan and Jon Baumgartner compose part of the line-up for this musical group.
The group has been performing together for many years, but started playing as a gathering of friends who got together on campus on Thursday to play music together.
“During these Thursday gatherings, we thought maybe we can do this beyond the campus at some point and at that point there was an attempt to create a theater downtown and to raise money for it and there was an open mic and that was the first time we played together in a different venue and decided to work on a couple of songs,” Barber said.
When the group became a formal band, however, is unclear.
“The way the thing started becoming a band—it was still a group of friends who like to sing and play,” Cadmus said. “It started to transform a little bit when people overheard one or more of these events. After that it was sort of an ad-hoc group.”
“In truth none of us can quite remember,” Betty Moffett said, summarizing perfectly the general consensus regarding the origins of the band.
The group began performing at Saint’s Rest Coffee House to share their music and add a sense of legitimacy to the group.
“We just went to [the owner at the time] Jeff one day and said, ‘What if we played?’ For once a month we played Wednesday night and then we started playing on Saturday morning,” Sandy Moffett said.
“You can’t be a band if you don’t play in a coffee house,” Betty Moffett added.
The name for the band was inspired by an incident during one of their performances at Saint’s Rest. While Schneider was tuning an autoharp, Cadmus commented on the fact that there were just too many strings being tuned all the time whenever they played and suggested that the band be called the “Too Many String Band.”
The members mentioned a wide range of music as influences for their song selection and performances.
“We play anything from what we like to play to what we like to hear,” Barber said. “There are country tunes, we do Bob Dylan, a lot of original songs.”
The focus of the band is more towards having a good time rather than striving for perfection. The group has many fond memories of great venues and audiences—ranging from large, politically charged groups to a single person one night in Brooklyn.
“Music in American culture has almost been sterilized and in some way loses some humanity and we’re not too fussy about those things,” Cadmus said. “On many occasions we’ve gotten in front of the audience and attempted to play a song which we have never played before because it’s fun.”