Photo of the Razing the Bar band performing on stage at the House of Blues

CWRU law band to perform at Legal Aid Society’s Jam for Justice fundraiser

Long-time members of the Case Western Reserve community may have seen them play iconic campus hangouts like the Barking Spider, Euclid Tavern or Cosmic Dave’s Rock Club. Others could have caught their 2018 show at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But for anyone who has not seen Razing the Bar, the law school’s faculty and student band, they’ll get a chance to do so virtually while supporting a good cause.

On Sept. 24, Razing the Bar will perform in the annual “Jam for Justice,” a virtual battle of the bands-style event hosted by the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland to raise funds for programs to secure shelter, safety and economic security for people throughout Northeast Ohio. 

Though COVID-19 safety precautions will prevent the usual in-person gathering of hundreds of fans, the House of Blues will stream the performances of eight bands comprised of local attorneys, judges, law students and faculty online from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. today (Sept. 17) and Sept. 22, 24 and 29.

Viewers will have a chance to buy VIP tickets, participate in a raffle or donate while watching a free, fun show.

“Supporting an organization like the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland though music is such a wonderful way to bring people together for a good cause,“ said School of Law Co-Dean and band leader Michael Scharf. “We felt strongly that we needed to embody the old theater trope—the show must go on.”

Razing the Bar, whose name was chosen through a law school naming contest, was formed a decade ago. It succeeded an earlier unnamed law school band led by Professor Ken Margolis, who had been a member of The Choir, a Cleveland garage band whose single “It’s Cold Outside” was a top 50 hit in 1967.

While faculty, including Co-Dean Michael Scharf (vocals, guitar), Law Library Director Joe Custer (bass guitar), Professor Charlie Korsmo (keyboard, vocals), Professor Kathryn Mercer (vocals) and Professor Andrew Pollis (vocals) form the core of the band, Razing the Bar’s identity is redefined each year as student members graduate and new musicians join the law school. This year, the band features four students—Carly Koza (lead vocals), Liz Safier (electric violin), Andy Rumschlag (drums) and Ryan Dalton (lead guitar). Rounding out the band is University Trustee Chuck Hallberg (guitar).

“You’d be surprised at the level of talent that we have here,” said Co-Dean Scharf. “Carly, a third-year student concentrating in health law, was a former Pennsylvanian pageant winner known for her soaring vocals. Andy, who was just selected for the Law Review, has a degree from the prestigious Berkeley School of Music in Boston. Liz spent seven years as a professional musician between college and law school and Ryan is a member of the professional band Eerie Point out of Toledo.”

The band’s “Jam for Justice” set will feature 30 minutes of classic rock songs from the 1960s through today, with each song showcasing the talents of a different member of the band. 

The performance will begin with “Cups,” from the movie Pitch Perfect, followed by Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl,” Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing,” Bob Dylan’s “Wagon Wheel,” The Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and the classic Stevie Nicks’ ballad, “Landslide.” The band will close the set with frolicking renditions of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and John Denver’s “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”

Learn more about the Jam for Justice event, including how to watch the webcasts and donate.