By ADAM FALLUJI – STAFF WRITER
Centre Encore and the Student Activities Council’s Battle of the Bands gave musically-inclined students across campus a chance to perform in front of their peers.
For those who haven’t been to CC After Dark before, there’s always food to eat, things to do, and plenty of Centre students in attendance looking for a way to unwind after a long week of school. Battle of the Bands night was no exception. Chairs were arranged in rows for students to sit in front of the bands, eating pretzels and popcorn while their peers performed. Bands had the spotlight and freedom to do what they wanted with the support of the audience cheering them on. Performers and audience members alike enjoyed the laid back but upbeat atmosphere. Junior Ali Gautier was the emcee for the night, and her witty remarks and raffle prize giveaways kept the transition period between bands entertaining.
The band Mus Musculus started off the show. Formed last year, the group is comprised of senior Sarah Palmer on trumpet, sophomore Sue Choi on the tambourine while dancing and vocals, junior Jonathan Hunt on trombone and vocals, junior Kyle Bezold on bass, junior Michael Yu on guitar, and junior Stefan Kowal on drums. Defining the band in one genre of music would be impossible. While the intention of the group was originally ska, they’ve grown far from this root to now incorporate pop music. Their passion for performing was evident as each member could be seen dancing as they played. “Being in a band is a great team bonding experience because you’re all creating an image together,” Palmer said. Their energetic performance was an excellent opener to the night.
Following them was the band High Register Drone, a duo of first-year Kevin O’Leary playing guitar and singing while first-year Judi Zhang worked cool vibes into the background on the keyboard. Keeping the enthusiasm for performing alive, O’Leary performed a mostly vocal rendition of Phil Collins’s “In the Air Tonight.” High Register Drone’s varied and comical performance earned cheers from the crowd.
“I enjoy performing. I like to be crazy and feel like a lot of people are reserved. I hope I can reach them and get them to try opening up too,” O’Leary said.
The band The Daze performed next; and while just as entertaining as the previous act, they sought to grab at their audience’s heart rather than make them laugh. Comprised of first-year Mackenzie Cohen on vocals and piano and first-year Riley McCormick on guitar, The Daze played music of the country-pop genre, referencing Taylor Swift’s first album as their influence and performing Swift’s “Our Song.”
Battle of the Bands gave The Daze their debut performance. “Music is a really nice outlet from school and homework. It’s everything to me- my whole life,” Cohen said.
Members of the Parliamentary Penguins came up next and rocked the house. Junior Nick Teale has been a vocalist in school and church choirs since third grade, and at Battle of the Bands, he tried his hand at classic rock songs and even experimented with hard rock vocals. “The experience was really exhilarating,” Teale said.
As the night wound down, the band Trending Now, although not an official part of the competition, closed the night with rock songs and throwbacks, such as Good Charlotte’s “The Anthem.”
Director of Instrumental Ensembles on campus and Assistant Professor of Music Jaemi Blair Loeb, Web and Communications Assistant John Rusnak, interim director for Center for Teaching and Learning Jami Powell, and Director of ITS and Chief Information Officer Keith Fowlkes, served as judges for the night.
The Daze got third place and was voted Fan Favorite. The Parliamentary Penguins came in second. And the winner was Mus Musculus, who did an encore performance of their original song “Speedway Run.”
Battle of the Bands was a great event for everyone involved. If you like listening to local talent, be on the lookout, as CentreEncore hopes this will be an annual event.