Although the Summer Breeze Concert Series is well known for bringing great artists to campus each Wednesday for a little lunchtime reverie, a performance by one of WPI’s own is extra special.
This Wednesday’s (Aug.6) concert brings Deux Amis, the folk music duo of real-life partners Sam Politz, WPI’s associate professor of biology and biotechnology, and Betsy Bronstein, a musician and teacher.
Deux Amis, the duo of WPI associate professor Sam Politz and Betsy Bronstein, will perform at the next Summer Breeze Concert on the Rubin Campus Center rear patio.
Deux Amis made its WPI debut last October with a lunchtime concert, but both Politz and Bronstein are long-standing musicians.
Politz says the science and music combination works well for him. “I’ve been playing music all my life, and I’ve played piano since I was seven years old,” he said. “At some point I had to decide what to do as a career, and I went the science route. Science is a hard thing to do as a hobby, but music isn’t!”
Politz and Bronstein are familiar faces on the local music scene, including performances at NuCafe, stART on the Street arts festival, the Worcester Art Museum, and a live appearance on WICN radio. When he’s not engaged in labs and lectures, Politz, also known as Driftin’ Sam, has a long-standing gig at Nick’s Bar and Restaurant in Worcester. Bronstein, a cellist, is a faculty member of both the Pakachoag Music School of Greater Worcester and the Worcester Music Academy. As Deux Amis, Politz contributes vocals and accordion, and Bronstein trades her usual cello for a fiddle.
"Science is a hard thing to do as a hobby, but music isn't!" - Sam Politz
Their Summer Breeze performance promises to bring an eclectic and worldly flavor to the Rubin Center back patio. The duo mix the Cajun influences of Politz’s native Louisiana with the ethnic folk and jazz traditions found in Zydeco, Celtic, and Klezmer music. The beats are cheerful, fun, and may inspire dancing on the patio, if not lots of vigorous foot tapping.
“I really enjoy seeing people in the audience when they are happy and taking a break from all the other things they have to do,” says Politz. Playing at WPI is special for Deux Amis, Politz says. “It’s nice seeing a lot of friends in the audience who might not know me in this context.” And Politz also enjoys seeing colleagues out of their typical settings as well. “That’s fun,” he says. “It’s a nice surprise.”
The Summer Breeze concerts are held from noon to 1 p.m. on the Burt Terrace behind the Rubin Campus Center every Wednesday (and occasionally on Thursdays, too). Since 2001, members of the WPI community have looked forward to gathering with each other for music and a free dessert, courtesy of Chartwell’s.
Sponsored by the Campus Center and the Student Activities Department, the concerts represent music of all kinds to appeal to as many people as possible over the course of the summer, says Jim McLaughlin, Assistant Dean of Student Programs and director of the Rubin Campus Center.
With four concerts left after Deux Amis’s performance, there’s plenty of time to take in some new sounds. Next Wednesday brings jazz and pop from Center Stage, and the rest of the summer concerts include blues, soul, Caribbean influences, and are an all-around fun way to mark the middle of the week.
Listeners can continue to hear the sounds of Deux Amis with their singular CD Deux Amis.