Balancing life and work can be difficult, but Brandan Beerli, supervisor in the McKay School’s Education Advisement Center, seemingly does it all—including performing as bass guitarist in a rock 'n' roll band.
Beerli has been a member of McKay School staff for eight years and is coming up on his first year as supervisor of the Education Advisement Center. He came to BYU after eight years of teaching high school biology in the suburbs of Chicago.
After moving to Utah, Beerli took up hobbies such as coaching youth football, a remnant of his time as a teacher and coach in Chicago. This gave him an opportunity to coach his son’s team and grow closer to him. However, Beerli’s most ambitious pastime is performing with his band, Route 89.
Beerli discovered the band from a BYU coworker whose husband was looking for a replacement bass guitarist. Route 89 plays covers of popular rock 'n' roll songs through the years, creating an atmosphere of what Beerli calls “Driving down the highway, playing all your favorites one after the other.”
According to Beerli, Route 89 is “not your typical garage band”—they perform frequently and have anywhere from 15 to 20 shows each year at festivals, corporate events, private parties, weddings, and other gatherings where crowds want live music. Beerli says the summer months can be especially busy, and the number of performances equals a performance every other week.
A typical show runs for about two to three hours, but including setup, takedown, and travel, a performance can take anywhere from seven to nine hours.
Even though it’s a huge commitment, Beerli loves his time with Route 89. “Playing music is just a really good creative outlet for me,” he says. “This added a new element, because now I can perform, and dance around on the stage, and you know, literally get exercise and let off steam.”
Beerli does not over-advertise his performances, but he does invite others to his shows, including his student employees. “I don’t bring it up all the time,” he states. “But if it comes up, I’ll say ‘hey, we’re playing a show, come and watch us.’ It’s fun to see them in the crowd.”
Music has been a significant part of Beerli’s life for years; he’s been playing guitar and bass guitar ever since high school. However, he admits that there was a time in his life where he became too busy to follow his hobbies. Nevertheless, he has since gotten back into the groove and made it a priority once again.
One way Beerli prioritizes music is by practicing every day. “I make it a personal habit to come home from work, and then after I’ve gotten settled in, I spend about 20 minutes or so playing my guitar,” Beerli states. “I do that almost every day. I’ll play songs I know, songs I want to learn, or songs, that I just got in my head and I’ll try to work them out.”
You can check out Beerli and Route 89 on YouTube or at his many performances this summer. One thing’s for sure: with or without his bass guitar, Brandan Beerli rocks.
Writer: Laurie Bradshaw
Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-1922