Stratford Latin teacher finds reward in music

STRATFORD – Dylan Connor is not related to Neil Young, but he still considers him family.

“He’s one of my biggest influences. He doesn’t know, but he’s my uncle. I call him Uncle Neil, ”Connor said.

The Bunnell High School Latin teacher is also a musician and drew inspiration from his influences for his fifth album, “Infinity Days,” which was released on September 24th.

After giving a live performance on October 29, Connor is now preparing to begin a tour in support of the album, which he described as “a weighty meditation on a variety of topics, from mortality to l isolation from the COVID pandemic and social media. “


Connor said he is thrilled to finally be able to perform live again and ready to feed off the energy that only live music can provide. His next concerts will be on November 16 at Woodbury Brewing Co. and January 7 at Stage One Fairfield Theater Co.

“Our human nature is to be social beings, to be together and to experience the arts,” he said.

The October 29 concert at the Bijou Theater in Bridgeport was his first performance with a band since the pandemic began early last year. He had performed solo, but the band completely changed the dynamic of live performance, he said.

This concert, he said, was fun since he could finally hear the songs as they were meant to be heard.

“All of these shows that I’ve done so far have been solo shows. I just play the guitar, sing and play the piano. But this concert, I had a group of six musicians. So hearing the songs fully performed was a lot of fun, ”he said.

While crowds did not return to pre-pandemic levels – the concert at the Bijou had around 100 people in attendance – he said he was looking on the bright side. The crowd energy was contagious, and other performances in New Hampshire and Maine drew respectable crowds.

He said there was a pent-up demand for live music.

“The general consensus for me is that it’s been a great race since September. Playing shows on weekends all over the Northeast and people seem to be really thirsty and happy to have live music, ”he said.

While enthusiasm for live music energized Connor, recording the album proved difficult. He had previously recorded his albums in Brooklyn. But the pandemic, while a boon for artists who suddenly had more free time, turned the recording experience upside down. He decided to stay closer to home, recording in a friend’s home studio and playing all the instruments himself.

But still, the realities of the pandemic crept into the registration process.

“We’d be masked a lot of times because like, ‘Oh, man, my grandson just got quarantined, so I have to take a test. Want to save? I don’t know, let’s take the week off. It would happen often, ”he said.

What would normally take a few weeks ended up taking six months, he said.

But the album attracts attention. Not only does Connor see decent crowds, but the music is played on college radio stations. Her song “Everything” has also received over 20,000 views on YouTube.

And it all happened on a part-time basis, because even though Connor is a musician, he’s also a teacher and can’t perform on school nights. But his teaching career gave him stability, which he said few other musicians have.

So when his students hear his material on college radio stations and tell him that they found his songs emotionally evocative, he is filled with pride, he said.

“It’s powerful. Something I observed or felt connected with someone else? This is the reward, ”he said.

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About Shirley A. Tamayo

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