By David Staudacher, Rio Salado College
The Valley-based rock band Anarbor started in 2003 when three middle-school friends decided to start a band based on a shared passion for the same type of music.
Today, the friends, who are in their early 20s, are accomplished musicians who have toured the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and parts of Japan.
“The longest tour we have done to date has been two full months and was this last summer when we were a part of the Vans 2010 Warped Tour,” said guitarists Mike Kitlas. “We spent two months away from home and played over 50 shows.”
While traveling the world and living the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle is dream for Kitlas, it doesn’t leave time for doing a lot of other things. And one thing he would like to accomplish is earning a college degree. While a tradition college doesn’t offer the flexibility a touring musician needs in their schedule, Kitlas has been able to earn a degree through Tempe-based Rio Salado College.
“I began taking classes with Rio Salado College when I was a junior in high school,” said Kitlas. “I attended Brophy College Prep in Phoenix, and I was involved in many honors courses, which allowed me to take classes as college credits. Luckily, before I even graduating Brophy I had a full semester of college credits completed.”
Now that Kitlas is out of high school and spending a lot of time on the road, he hasn’t missed a beat in his educational goals with Rio Salado’s format.
“I love online classes because they allow me to travel for my career, but still allow me the opportunity to get my college degree while at work,” he said. “Without online classes, I would have to choose one or the other, and the chances of me choosing school over rock ’n’ roll is not going to happen.”
While he loves his life as a musician, Kitlas still makes sacrifices to keep up with his class deadlines.
“I study during the long drives we have from state to state,” said Kitlas. “I take tests once I am in my dressing room and I have a quiet atmosphere. I let my tour manager know to close off the dressing room for a period of time so I’m able to concentrate and complete the exam. Sometimes my tests are required to be proctored, like my Biology midterm. When I was in Portland, I had to miss my sound check at the venue because I was at the local community college taking my midterm exam. This can be tough to organize because I am on a schedule, so it takes a lot of planning on my part to ensure I can take all my exams.”
This month, Kitlas is on track to complete his Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Rio Salado College. He also plans to continue his education and is considering a degree in music business marketing.
Check out Anarbor’s music at www.myspace.com/anarbor.