English Teacher by Day, Band Member by Night

Isabella Wartzenluft, Reporter

Four years ago, Liz Munkwitz, Maddie Olson, Max Kurkiewicz [Arrowhead graduates in 2006], and Tom Downing were asked to perform at the Guitars 4 Vets benefit concert at Arrowhead. Guitar 4 Vets is a program that provides veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) the opportunity to find peace and stress relief through music. Since then, the three AHS graduates have formed their own band: Kindred.

We jumped on the opportunity to sing together, because it had been since high school since we had done so,” says Munkwitz, an American Literature teacher and Technology Integrator at Arrowhead.

Olson and Kurkiewicz sing vocals for the band. Munkwitz sings vocals as well as helps with song arrangements.  Downing, Munkwitz’s father, plays the guitar.  

While attending Arrowhead, Olson, Kurkiewicz, and Munkwitz were in Broadway Company together, which is where their friendship was formed.

Preceding the Guitar 4 Vets concert, which the band performed in after college, the group had band practices and played gigs at locations such as Cafe Carpe in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Before long, a name was needed.

“We each brainstormed a list of band names and at one of our practices, we sat down and went through the names. It took a while, but we settled on Kindred because it represents how we feel about each other — we are kindred spirits,” says Munkwitz.

Kindred has yet to perform original music. Currently, they put their own twist on songs in order to suit their sound. They have completed arrangement such as the mashup of “Fix you” by Coldplay and “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry.

The covers we perform are usually songs that we love or feel fit the situation we are performing for. Should we choose to ever perform my originals, those songs [and the lyrics will] come from my life experiences and things that mean a lot to me personally,” says Munkwitz.

Information on the band and performance dates can be accessed by speaking to Munkwitz. The band is currently in rehearsals for upcoming performances.”

Covers that the band has played at previous gigs can be watched on the YouTube channels, “Life With The Munks” and “PPattow.”

Due to the fact that all members of the band have full-time jobs and and significant others, rehearsal time is limited. When a gig approaches, rehearsals take place more often, which can be stressful, Munkwitz says.

“[The band] is really about doing meaningful performances and just performing together in general. We’re a tight-knit group of friends/family so it’s more about the experience than anything else,” says Munkwitz.