Battle of the Bands

Just in time for the crisp spring weather and the lively atmosphere on the campus ground, crowds gathered around the steps of Samuel Phillips Hall last Friday to watch the annual Battle of The Bands. Sponsored by WPAA, eight bands competed for the victory and a winning trophy. Both a panel of judges and the student body determined the winner. The judge panel consisted of three faculty members: Zachary Hobbs, Assistant Director of Community Service, Liz Davisson, Teaching Fellow in Community Service and Derek Jacoby, Instructor in Music. While both student and faculty members were enjoying the drinks and popcorn served by WPAA and eagerly waiting for the show to begin, school president Faiyad Ahmad ’10 and future school president Mike Mackay ’11 came up to the stage as MCs. The night began with Four Courners, consisting Charlie Oliva ’11, Ryan Yost ’11, Peter Nelson ’11, Zach Fine ’11 and Jeb Roberts ’11. The band performed an original song called, “Sweet Louisa.” Yost said, “We were nervous just before we began performing because we were the first band to play and didn’t know how the crowd was going to react. But once we started playing, it just became a lot of fun.” Despite the fact that Four Courners was blamed for technical sound errors because it went first, the crowd went wild at their performance. Following Four Courners was Bass Proshops, a well known band, consisting of Alex Smith ’12, Charles Danner ’11, Nicholas Carmada ’12, Johnathan Westling ’12 and Sam August ’10. Getting a roaring cheer even before its performance, the band performed “Ice Cream Man” by Van Halen, one of the many famous American Blues songs. Danner and the band members made an ideal rendition of the joyful song, and received good reviews from the judges. Liz Davisson said, “As soon as the song started, it put a smile right on my face, and the lyrics made laugh. The song was great.” Geeks in the Pink later came on the stage wearing matching pink pants and dresses. The band consisted of Michael Ma ’10, Mia Rossi ’10, Faiyad Ahmad ’10, Peter Yang ’10, Dominic Chang ’11, Charles Guan ’12, Isabel Knight ’12 and Jeremy Chen ’13. Ma set the mood on stage wearing a fedora and a sunglass. The unusual group performed “Butterfly” by Jason Mraz, entering a genre that separated them from the others. Despite its lack of continuity in the song, the judges thanked the group for expanding the genre of music performed. Ma said after the show, “I asked around for people who would be willing to perform and ended up finding some of the best musical talent on campus!” He continued, “We only practiced about an hour each day, starting four days before the show. It was definitely very tight timing, but when working with such musically talented individuals, things just come together.” The Noon-O’Clocks were up next, starring Alexander Huzar ’11, David Janovsky ’11, Sosha Sullivan ’11, and Matt Appleby ’11. The “Monster’s Inc.” costumes Sullivan and Huzar wore caught the audience’s attention as they performed “Sunshine of Your Love” by Cream. Huzar admitted that the band wasn’t able to practice much due to time constraint, “Considering how well the others played, we weren’t nervous. I thought I’d be horribly nervous, but I pretty much zoned out during the performance and was having a great time.” Seven Layer Crunch Wrap Supreme, featuring Phil Hofer ’10, Matt Renner ’10 and Bijan Torabi ’10 performed an outstanding rendition of “Parabola” by Tool that elicited cheers from the crowd. Renner believed that they could have performed better. He said, “Like last year, the band before us set the amp and the wrong setting, and Bijan’s bass could barely be heard, and I think that bothered him a lot…I think I did well considering I had to learn how to play the song the night before.” Renner also reflected on how he felt as he performed what could be the last performance of the band together. “I know that no matter what, we are all going to be friends, even after we leave school, but it’s a bit sad that we might never play again together as a band. I feel like being in Seven Layer was one of the greatest things that could have happened to me here at PA,” he said. Renner continued, “I had so much fun growing up with these guys over the past four years, learning how to be better guitarist and learning how to work together in a band environment. I think this year we just wanted to get up there and have fun. So what if we lost? All I know is that I had a great time playing in front of my friends in the crowd and with my friends on stage.” The final two bands were new to the audience members, but each was able to pull off a staggering performance. The Sprowtz included BJ Garry ’10, Moshe Bryant ‘12, Khalil Flemming ‘12, Zach Fine ‘11, Charlie Oliva ‘11, Colton Dempsey ’12, Alec Bingaman ’10 and James Poss ’10. The band encouraged the crowd to follow along singing the well-known song “Hey Ya” by Outkast. The other new group was Superband, which featured David Lim’12, Dominic Chang’11, Phil Hofer’10 and Jeb Roberts ’11. Out of all the talented bands that performed on Friday, Bass Proshops, Sprowtz and Seven Layer were only three that made it to the third round. With votes from audience members through their cell phones, the Sprowtz won the championship with its final performance of “Nothin on You” by B.O.B. The crowd cheered wildly throughout the performance. Sprowtz member Garry said, “The band came into fruition before Abbot Cabaret, when a few of us in Taylor discussed the possibility of getting a band together. We practiced sporadically for the two weeks leading up to Battle of the Bands. Most of our practices happened in the basement of Taylor, where we had one amp, a synthesizer, and a tipped-over chair as a drumset.” Garry admitted his surprise at the victory. “We were up against some stiff, battle-tested competition, and we went into the whole thing just hoping people liked what we played. Our favorite song was our cover of ‘1901’ by Phoenix, which we played in the second round, so as long as we got to play that, we were content. Everything else that happened after that was a bonus. But winning was hugely satisfying. We put a lot of time and effort into making our performance what it was, and seeing our effort pay off beyond our expectations was amazing.” Judge Hobbs said, “I think the concert turned out great. Everybody had a great time. It was really exciting and was a great chance to work as one of the judges. I especially enjoyed the third round the most, because that was when everybody was really warmed up and were able to show their best efforts.” WPAA prepared for the actual show early in the morning, setting up the technical equipment, and had planned Battle of the Bands since last month. Zary Peretz ’11, one of the board members of WPAA said, “Each director had a different task to complete to help make Battle of the Bands happen, and I think it turned out very successfully.” Peretz added, “The real credit has to go to David Janovsky ’11 and Matt Appleby ’11, as well as all of the bands that performed, the judges and the MCs for making Battle of the Bands a huge success.”