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Monday, June 17, 2024
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Buffalo teachers use math to create music

The Dooleys have been inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame

<p>Teachers Gregory Opalinski and Paul Swishers are in a band called The Dooleys.</p>

Teachers Gregory Opalinski and Paul Swishers are in a band called The Dooleys.

By day, Gregory Opalinski and Paul Swisher teach math and science.

But by night, the pair tie music and mathematics together with their band: The Dooleys. 

Opalinski and Swisher, friends since fifth grade, didn’t find music. Music found them. 

“I had a spiritual knowing within,” Opalinski said. 

Opalinski has degrees in both music and mathematics, two subjects that he says are intertwined. 

“Everything is inextricably connected,” Opalinski said.

The notion that everything in the universe — especially math and music — is interconnected has been the driving force in Opalinski’s colorful artistic career, including his pursuits in writing and poetry.

 “Once we have manifested a thought into the universe, whether it be as an intention, or unwittingly, it has the potential to either propagate or deteriorate,” Opalinski said. “This is spirituality, mathematics and music, at its most rudimentary level.” 

In simple terms, nothing in the universe is isolated, and everything is chaotically organized into a set code. To tap into this code is to tap into the universe. 

Opalinski extended these beliefs to his work as a math teacher at Lackawanna High School. As a math teacher, he aims to teach mathematics in its truest form: a source of creative knowledge. He emphasizes the wonders of mathematics and its innate relation to music in his class. 

The other half of the duo, Swisher, is a retired earth science teacher at North Tonawanda High School. He picked up an acoustic guitar in his late teens and next thing he knew, he was creating music — and nine albums — with his best friend.   

Swisher chose to go against the standard curriculum and “connected creativity, science and artistic angles.” 

Through his work as an artist and teacher, he simply tries to spread positivity. 

Though Swisher and Opalinski have always shared similar beliefs, their lyrics are a representation of their spirituality and intellectuality coinciding. 

While the two have always been the root of The Dooleys, they’ve been joined by a rotating cast of band members since its manifestation. 

The band illustrated its devotion to the expansion of mental liberty by their consistent performances at rallies, memorials and different places of worship. Their music propagates the ascension of the soul and mind. 

The duo refused to let the preconceived notions of what defines music, mathematics and science limit what they can do. That unique perspective is part of what got The Dooleys into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. 

They rely on the idea that everything is a frequency and all one must do is tune into this frequency and the pursuit of knowledge will follow. 

The arts desk can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com

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