Andy Bauer: The Man Behind MC Performing Arts

by Alexa Schmidt Asst. A&E Editor

Andrew Bauer is the main man behind performing arts. Besides being the director of Singers and Music Ministry, he oversees all other groups including Jazz Band, Pep Band, Players, Pipes and Drums, Manhattones and Orchestra. He is also responsible for anything that goes on at the chapel, like weddings, funerals or convocations.

Bauer has many talents of his own. He can play the flute, keyboard, organ, guitar, saxophone, kazoo and bass.

“I like to write music at the piano. I’m a composer so I usually like to flesh things out at the piano and it’s very useful because you hear all the ranges of the different instruments at the piano. I like arranging and composing music. I like to record in studios, put together demos and do recording, which is really great,” Bauer said.

Bauer grew up in Dutchess County, went to Bard College and then to the Manhattan School of Music for his masters’ degree.

“When I graduated college in upstate, NYC was viewed as the Mecca of performing arts, so anyone’s who serious about having a career in music has to at least take a look at New York and come and try to make a go of it. And of course, Manhattan School of Music was here so I just stayed because that was where all the work possibilities are,” he said.

He continued,

“I moved to NYC in 1988, and my first apartment was $400 a month overall. I could make a living, busting in the subway sometimes and even go out to dinner afterwards. I worry about the cultural vitality of the city when people are just priced out of it. How many talented people are we missing out on just because they can’t afford the city? That’s a big problem, and I still see it,” Bauer said.

During the semester, Bauer is at the college around seven days a week because running this department the way he envisions it requires attention. He noted that as the director, he has to be there for the students when they need him.

“It is so important to build relationships with the students, especially in performing arts where they are such a big part of our program. We really learn so much from them and they keep us so much into the core what’s important these days. We kind of give them stuff they don’t know either. It goes both ways,” he said.

Bauer recalled how he got the job at Manhattan College.

“It’s very interesting how I got this job. It speaks to the human connections we make in this world because if I trace back all the people that I had to get this job, it goes back to a fellow named John Sacco, who is a coach in the Manhattan College Singers,” he said.

Bauer was the music director for a parish in Yonkers when somebody at another church called him to do a funeral. He got introduced to Tom Snowden, who was directing music at a parish in Yonkers when he decided to become a priest. Bauer took over his job in Sacred Heart, Yonkers, teaching in high school and directing music for the parish.

Snowden also got Bauer a job working for the Sisters of Charity at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, and one of the sisters was a teacher at Mother Cabrini High School. They needed a music director so they contacted Bauer to run the girls’ choir.

He found Manhattan College through one of his students in the choir who wanted to try out for the performing arts scholarship at Manhattan College. He accompanied her on the piano, and she decided to go to MC.

It turned out that the music director at MC left the position and the same student called Bauer and said that he could fill the temporary position. He went for it, and in the end, the students really liked him and recommended him to Student Engagement. In the Spring of 2012, Bauer took the job.

“That’s when I discovered how unique Manhattan was because the students had a huge say in what was happening. And that’s true for all of performing arts. We give our students a lot of authority in what reportraire and music we decide,” Bauer said.

He continued.

“Everything went really well, I really liked the place, and I feel like everything I had ever done in my career was leading me up to this point at MC. I just felt like I was coming home. I felt like I fit in the particular character that is here at this school,” Beaur said.

Eventually, Student Engagement asked if Bauer if he wanted to be the director full time and he said yes. He knew he was not an administrator, but knew he could do it because of his experience in being a musician, choral director, and knowing theater, orchestra and jazz.

“I interviewed for job in June and heard nothing. Then the second week of August they hired me. I was shocked because I asked myself, ‘How am I going to prepare, considering I have to run a whole department?’ But, I did it, and I felt like a cat thrown off a balcony, where I landed on my feet,” Bauer said.

Since then, Bauer has really dedicated himself to the program. He made some incredible memories, including the two classes he taught: Abbey Road and Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

“These were two fantastic classes which examined and performed those seminole Beatles albums which have such an influence over the music of our time. Working with the students and performing that was by far the best experience of my teaching career and possibly my music career in totality,” he said.