Sherri Schwanz would be the last person to admit it, but she shares something in common with "Weird Al" Yankovic besides a love of music: The Lansing Middle School choir director and the zany parodist both began their musical careers playing the accordion.
Schwanz said she began with the instrument at the age of 4 because the spacing of the keys best suited her small hands. Although neither of her parents played musical instruments, they encouraged her to take up the accordion because they believed playing music was a good way to learn discipline, she said.
Schwanz said she made her parents allow her to give up the instrument at the age of 16, having taken up what was to become her favorite instrument, the piano, a year after she learned the accordion.
She and her husband, Brian, enjoy going to performances of all genres of music, she said, and recently saw Billy Joel's musical, "Movin' Out," at the Kansas City Music Hall.
Between her job, her duties as a mother and as a member of the Kansas National Education Association's board of directors and the private piano lessons she gives, Schwanz doesn't have a lot of time to indulge in playing the piano for pleasure.
"When I have a break in the winter or summer, I try to."
Name: Sherri Schwanz
Address: 607 Brookwood St.
Graduate of: Baker University, bachelor's in music education
Family: Husband, Brian; daughter, Bethanie; son, Bryan
How long have you lived in Lansing and what brought you here? Since 1990. I was hired as a choir teacher at the elementary school.
What do you like most about Lansing? I like the fact that I can live in a small town but am still a half hour away from the big city. The students in Lansing are full of energy and ready to learn. What more could you ask?
What do you do for fun? Golf, attend our kids' sports games, go to KU football games.
What would surprise people about you? A wonderful Sunday for me would be sitting downstairs in the family room and watching football all day with my family.
What's the best advice you ever received? "Life is not a dress rehearsal, so you better make it good," from a former teacher.
What organizations or clubs do you belong to? Board of directors for Kansas National Education Association, Kansas Music Educators Association, Kansas Choral Directors Association and Zeta Tau Alpha Alumni