I was born to two punk musicians, so the idea of playing unplugged never struck me as a possibility until I saw School of Honk parading through Davis Square. It was everything I could possibly want: spontaneous public performance, loud music, and dancing. I mean, who gave these people permission to have so much fun? I wanted in.

Despite playing music for over half of my life, I was intimidated by the thought of picking up a new instrument amidst a group of complete strangers. One Sunday, years after my initial introduction to SoH, I decided to go for it. Within weeks, I was completely enamored with snare and the incredibly supportive community that was teaching me how to play it.

Being a mentor has been an equally important experience for me. Before School of HONK, I always felt pressured to approach instruction with heavily structured, traditional models, despite my own inability to learn that way. It’s been a blast to guide newcomers in a way that feels natural for them and for me. Viva SoH!



At last weekend’s parade, an elderly lady came dancing up to me.

“What IS this? Who ARE you people?”

“We’re the School of HONK!” I smiled back.

“Oh! And what, or where, is ‘Honk’?” she asked, curiously.

I paused a moment.

“The School of HONK isn’t a thing or a place,” I replied. “It’s a way of life.”



My parents signed me up for piano lessons in Kindergarten, and I owe everything that followed to them. I studied with three piano teachers over ten years, including a scary one who chewed on peppercorns and kept pet peacocks.

To make a long story short, my primary instrument is now accordion, which I play as part of my street show, Sophie’s Smokin’ Squeezebox. Busking enabled me to live a nomadic, international lifestyle for six years after college.

Although I had amazing adventures, I lacked a sense of community during that time, so at the end of 2015 I decided to move to the Boston area. While canvassing for Bernie during the primary elections in March of 2016, I heard wafting music (“We Got That Fire”) and followed it until I found the source.

I adore brass music. Especially trumpets. And so I ditched my plans (whoops) and followed the parade. I thought to myself, “I would absolutely love to do this. It’s too bad I don’t play an instrument that counts.”

Fast-forward to January 1st, 2017. It’s a new year, I have resolutions. Specifically, to be more musical and to be more social. To make some new like-minded friends. So when my friend Matt Morin (HONK clarinetist who I know as a fellow accordion player) told me that I, in fact, count as a reed instrument and invited me to HONK, I eagerly accepted.

I immediately fell in love with HONK. I love the welcoming, low-key musical environment and I love that it’s full of fun, creative people who are keen to hang out after. I find it incredibly fulfilling musically and socially. It was exactly what my life in Boston was missing, and I only wish I had joined sooner. Several weeks in, I purchased a melodica (louder than accordion).

When I’m not at HONK, I continue to perform on the streets as well as substitute teach elementary school and sing with Chorus pro Musica. Soon I will be starting grad school for a Master’s in Elementary Education, a career in which I’ll use as much music as they’ll let me.