Unfunded Mandate Band Information
Unfunded Mandate, a band of Lakeland School District staff, are completing their fourth year of playing together. Lakeland Superintendent Dr. George Stone has been playing in school district bands for over thirty years, always donating every dollar earned to student scholarships or special school projects through the district education foundations. "We play classic rock covers and our catalog has grown now to a couple hundred songs so we never play the same show twice.". This past year the band played to large crowds at the Winery, Colonial Terrace, Yorktown Grange Fair, Town of Cortlandt Anniversary event, Piazza Roma, the Bean Runner, Murphy's and other district fundraisers sponsored by the Lakeland Education Foundation.
Prior to coming to Lakeland, Stone played with bands in Delaware including "Hindsight 20-20, No Directions, and Unaccountable." The bands played clubs in The Rehoboth Beach area including the Summer Concert Series at the downtown bandstand and the Baycenter in Dewey Beach.
"With full time jobs in education, this is more of a hobby for us, but we love playing and people really seem to like what we play. As a fund raising band you know we do it because we love the music." This year the band hopes to add a few originals to the song list.
Other members of the band include Chris Cummings, Lakeland High School Principal on bass, Chris Ruggiero, Director of Mathematics on keyboards, Rick Russo, Music Teacher at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School and Charlie Rhyner, Music Teacher at Thomas Jefferson Elementary on guitars, and front man Rob Bergmann, lead male vocalist who is the Principal at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School.
Payson started playing bass in 1990. He played with a band called "Gyst" from 1990 to 2011. Aside from Unfunded Mandate Payson plays a number of gigs throughout Westchester and the surrounding area with the band Axis. Troy has been with Lakeland for 15 years.
Chris Cummings has been playing professionally for many years as well. He majored in music education from Western Connecticut University and taught music education in Lakeland before becoming an administrator. Over the last ten years he has played guitar and bass with a number of acts in the tri-state area. While he has played with many talented people, he loves the fact that all of the proceeds from Unfunded Mandate go to helping kids.
Rob Bergmann, the lead vocalist,who many believe has an incredible voice and stage presence, never sang professionally. "I love to sing, and I love music, so this was a perfect opportunity to sing and have fun, and we play for a purpose. Everything we do helps kids." Bergmann has been with Lakeland for ten years, seven as a teacher and now three as assistant principal.
The band is sponsored by the Lakeland Education Foundation under the direction of President Denise Kness. Inquiries about bookings and fundraisers can contact her at LEF@lakelandschools.org.
"It's the love of music and giving back to our community that makes this so much fun. Given the hard work we do it also helps to balance our lives while our shows work to bring staff and community together," Stone noted. "Playing has always been fun, but this is the best band I have played with. We are all really enjoying it."