Work Life Balance


Work-Life Balance:

Member musicians connect through music

OSBA Staff
Columbus, OH

We all know lawyers can perform in the courtroom, but who knew they could perform on stage? Our members impress us day after day, and we want to showcase their talents. Lawyer musicians are not a rare species—naturally curious and eager to learn, many seek to use both sides of the brain: the analytical side (left), and the creative side (right).
From judges to law students, many of our members find happiness, liberation and stress relief through musical performance with instruments including the tuba, banjo, guitar, drums, cajón, and keyboard. We always hear about their practices, now let’s hear about their music.

John Hardisky
Music Master & 2L 

After receiving both his bachelors and masters degrees in music performance, John decided to become a lawyer. He is currently in his second year of law school at the University of Dayton. Before law school, John played tuba in the Air Force Band of Flight for 12 years while he was in the U.S. Air Force.  Other musical endeavors include playing in the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cincinnati Orchestra. He occasionally plays with Oakwood Brass—a quintet.  He is currently clerking for a family law firm in Dayton and teaching music at Cedarville University. “It keeps me connected to the music world,” John said.

Fun factJohn has played upwards of 5,000 performances and earned his masters degree while on active duty in the USAF. 
Music genreHe appreciates all types of music, but his heart lies in orchestra. 
Area of practiceJohn hopes to practice in family law after graduating. 
Alma matersUniversity of Dayton School of Law (J.D.) and Wright State (masters)

Candace Brown
Queen Mother Mars 

Candace has been a lawyer since 2006 and has been playing drums since she was a child. She began in fifth grade, continued through high school, and played for The Ohio State Marching Band in college. Because not many women played snare drum then, Candace considers herself a trailblazer for female drummers.  Now Candace plays with her band Queen Mother Mars twice a month for open mic and scheduled gigs; instead of drums, Candace plays the cajón, a box percussion instrument primarily played in Latin American music. Queen Mother Mars was born when Candace ran into a friend from high school who needed a drummer for his band.

Instrument: Drums, cajón
Fun factCandace was in T.B.D.B.I.T.L. 
Band membersMarcus Whiteamire, guitar, vocals 
Area of practiceJuvenile and family law
Alma materChase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University

Mark Kitrick
Music Composer & Producer

Mark has been a musician since he was young. His mother trained him in classical piano as a child, and he attended Cincinnati’s Archbishop Choir School for four years. Since then Mark has taught himself how to play guitar (acoustic, electric, jazz), banjo (frailing), bass, and blues harmonica. When he’s not advocating for justice with the Ohio State Bar Foundation and the American Association for Justice, Mark is writing and producing his own music, doing album sessions in various studios and sitting in for different bands, including the Crazy Gringos and the Boatles. He has played music with professional musicians around the country,  as well as with lawyers, doctors and teachers, and says it makes him appreciate what other musicians do as masters of both their instruments and full-time careers. 

Mark’s advice to musicians: “Do not get trapped in a time frame or genre of music. Listen to all the new music from rap to indie to alternative. There’s fantastic music today, and thanks to the internet you can hear music from all over the world.” 

InstrumentsGuitar, banjo, bass, keyboard, harmonica 
Music genreRock, jazz, blues 
Albums: Sidebar (2002), Blue Shift (2001) 
Alma materUniversity of Dayton School of Law

Dan Gerken

Dan became a musician when he began taking piano lessons at age five. His parents were both musicians, and he was encouraged to play several instruments over the years. A natural song writer and musician, Dan formed bands with friends he met in high school and college. He is currently a member of FACE and Miranda Sound. Although he is a lawyer full time, Dan often plays music as a stress reliever and creative outlet.  

Guitar, piano, cello, drums, baritone horn
Music genreIndie rock, melodic rock
FACE membersDinah Gerken Babcanec (Dan’s sister), Brian Freshour and Brian Moore
CharitiesThe American Stroke Association, Families of SMA (spinal muscular atrophy), Stefanie Spielman Concert For Breast Cancer Research, Andyman-a-thon For the Kids and more. 
Practice areaLitigation
Alma materGeorge Washington University Law School

Marty Mohler
Jingle Balls 

OSBA immediate past-president Marty Mohler is a lawyer-turned-musician who spends his time advancing the legal profession and rocking out for a good cause. “My wife bought me a guitar and created a monster,” Marty said. He plays guitar in Jingle Balls, a classic rock band made up entirely of OSBA members—all lawyers and one judge. They primarily perform at charity events, especially to raise money for legal aid. 

Jingle Balls will perform in the Battle of the Bands at the All-Ohio Legal Forum.  

InstrumentsRhythm guitar 
Music genreRock, mainly 60s, 70s and 80s
Jingle Balls membersJudge Michael Goulding, John Rozic, Jim Anderson and Larry Gold
Practice areaBroad general practice
Alma materUniversity of Toledo College of Law

George Moore

City of Celina Law Director George Moore is a rock, blues, country and southern gospel musician and singer. He plays music often with his band Erastus, named after a small suburb in Mercer County. Erastus performs primarily in Mercer County for community events and charities, including Celina at the Lake Festival and an annual benefit for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “It’s important to give back with our musical talent,” George said. He has also been co-writing and recording songs with other artists including Jan Buckingham in Nashville, their latest being “My Future Next Ex.” 

InstrumentsVocals, guitar, bass, drums, piano, banjo and mandolin 
Music genreRock, blues, country and southern gospel 
Erastus membersMatt Denney, Brent Roth, Ross Overman
Areas of practice: Criminal prosecution and general 
Alma materUniversity of Dayton School of Law​

Judge Michael P. Donnelly
Faith & Whiskey

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Donnelly plays guitar and sings in a rock band called Faith & Whiskey. The band has 10 members including three attorneys. Judge Donnelly met Steve Zashin on a plane to Lollapalooza and struck up a conversation to find they were both lawyers. Then they met others involved in the Cleveland School of Rock and eventually a band was formed. Faith & Whiskey has been together for four years. 

The band often plays at benefit fundraisers including The Women’s Recovery Center, The Gathering Place, a benefit to save the Beachland Ballroom, and the Cleveland Legal Aid Society’s Jam for Justice, where it helped raise $65,000 for legal aid last year. “Any time we’re brought a story about someone who needs support, we’ll play a benefit to help support them,” Judge Donnelly said. 

InstrumentsGuitar and vocals
Faith & Whiskey membersSteve Zashin (OSBA member), Rich Wesorick (OSBA member), Joe Barone, Dan Kreuger, Jerry Kysela, Keith Merritt, Jim Pujolas and Jim Reesing
Music genreRock n’ roll 
Alma mater: Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Steve Tilson
The Crazy Gringos

Steve Tilson, past President of the Ohio State Bar Foundation, has been a music lover since he can remember. “I’ve always been into music–since age 4–and never stopped,” Steve said. He performs with his son and a couple friends in a band called The Crazy Gringos, a classic rock and blues band. The band often performs at charity benefits, including  those that support legal aid, service clubs, muscular dystrophy and more. Steve uses his music as a stress reliever and an opportunity for free-flowing creativity.

The Crazy Gringos will perform in the Battle of the Bands at the All-Ohio Legal Forum. 

Instruments: Acoustic and electric guitar, tenor banjo and ukulele   
The Crazy Gringos Members: Eric Tilson (Steve’s son), John Erlsten and Roger Mayes 
Music genres: Blues, classic rock, country, bluegrass, Latin, jazz, oldies, pop and even some Gershwin 
Areas of practiceGeneral practice concentrating on litigation, estate planning and family law 
Alma mater: The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law​

Tom Haren
Out of Order 

Tom has been a member of Out of Order since the band was created in 2013. He plays guitar and is also a lead vocalist. Of the six band members, four are lawyers. According to Tom, they began talking about creating a band at a friend’s wedding. We all had an interest and luckily it worked out,” Tom said. “It’s a way to blow off steam and have fun, and it all came together pretty smoothly.” Out of Order often performs for charity events including the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland’s annual fundraiser and an event at the Beachland Ballroom to raise money to keep the venue open. This spring they will play to raise money for a friend with overwhelming medical bills. 

InstrumentGuitar, vocals
Out of Order membersEmily Dettmer, Vince Ruffa, Marcus Sidoti, Joe Grandinetti  (OSBA member) and Dave Thein
Music genresRock n’ roll—from Elvis to Poison to C.Lo Green  
Areas of practiceCriminal defense and business litigation, first amendment defense 
Alma materCleveland-Marshall College of Law

Tony Zaharieff 
Blind Justice

A retired lawyer and OSBA member, Tony became a musician when his parents bought him his first set of used drums. Without ever being able to read a sheet of music, he formed a band to cover evolving rock n’ roll music, including The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Eventually, an all-lawyer band was started with lawyers and judges alike. Tony and the Tortfeasors turned into Blind Justice, his band today. “I doubt we’ll ever make it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; however, we have undoubtedly enjoyed ourselves and, in the process, entertained varied audiences since 1981,” Tony said.

Music genreClassical rock n’ roll
Blind Justice members: Ken Krochmal (OSBA member), Chuck Wagner, Mark Donatelli (OSBA member), Geoff Johnson, Phil Beard (OSBA member), Jim Nolan (OSBA member), John Kessler (OSBA member), Judge Tom Rose (OSBA member), Rich Mitchell and Louie Adams
Charities: Ohio Trial Lawyers Association Convention, political fundraisers for judicial candidates, Habitat for Humanity events and more
Alma materUniversity of Cincinnati College of Law