Martgaret (Peggy) Ehrhart

Making Her “Last Stand”

A decade ago, Fairleigh Dickinson University Professor of English Margaret Ehrhart was watching her 10-year-old son Matt take guitar lessons and thought “that looks like something that would be fun to do.” Mom was hooked, and today she’s jamming with a rock and blues cover band.

“There’s nothing like it in the world,” she explains, “when you hear the drummer kick in behind you and you have the opportunity to perform. It’s addictive.”

After playing in a garage band that didn’t stray far from the garage, Ehrhart helped form The Last Stand Band, a group featuring a stockbrocker on drums, a New York City Department of Finance employee on guitar and lead vocals and a psychologist on bass. They rehearse regularly in a Manhattan studio and have played at open-mike sites in the metropolitan area.

The band covers an interesting mix of songs ranging from popular rock (“Twist and Shout”) to classic blues (“She’s Into Something,” by Muddy Waters). The blues influence comes from Ehrhart, who has long loved the genre.

In March, The Last Stand Band appeared at FDU to perform a concert titled, “Blues, Beatles and Beyond,” which highlighted the evolution of the blues — originally an African-American folk music says Ehrhart — into the pop music of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

Ehrhart, whose academic specialty is medieval studies, says being a teacher is very comparable to being an entertainer. “In both situations, you’re in front of an audience, and you have to think on your feet and react to what’s going on. Also, in both arenas you need to be poised and self-confident.”

Unlike some cover artists who want to be songwriters, Ehrhart has no such aspirations. “It’s just fun to hear a song you really like and have the chance to perform it. It’s just about getting together to play for fun.”

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