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Custodian carries a tune

Custodian carries a tune

Jun 3, 2013 - By Andrea Novotny, Staff Writer

Kindergartener Samantha Mendes calls Steve Gora the "best singing janitor I've ever heard."

Gora, a night custodian at Ashgrove Elementary School, performed for Ashgrove students and staff Thursday in the school's gymnasium. Playing the guitar and singing, Gora performed covers of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds," The Beach Boys' "Barbara Ann" and many other tunes for the group of enthusiastic elementary students who were happy to get up and dance to the music on the second-to-last day of school.

Gora, who also performed a Christmas concert at Ashgrove in December, says he loves playing for kids.

Before becoming a custodian, Gora said he worked as an independent musician for seven or eight years, and he recalled opening for the band Steppenwolf and Jerry Jeff Walker as well as playing for Vice President Dick Cheney and Lynne Cheney at a high school reunion in 2004.

He also has performed a number of benefit concerts for a variety of causes, including fundraisers for multiple sclerosis research, impoverished children, Relay for Life, and "any kind of cause as long as it's not too political."

The musician of 40 years said he particularly enjoys playing classic rock from the 1960s and 1970s, folk music and older country songs.

He also has written his own numbers and produced two albums - one of original music, and another selection of hymns for the Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Lander.

Gora describes himself as a "romantic at heart," which serves as the basis for most of his songwriting.

"I've always believed there is something about music," he says. "That is love."

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