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The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

Stillwater Pony Express

Musicians make Battle of the Bands a huge hit for performers, audience

Photo by Ian Lunneborg
Band Bagel Hole plays War Pigs by Black Sabbath at the Battle of the Bands on Feb. 16. Five bands came together to compete for fun and play some music.

The annual Battle of the Bands is an event where musicians can come together and show an audience how well they can play. Every year the event draws in attendees from every grade to see what the bands playing can do. For the bands, however, it can be seen backstage, during soundcheck, and before they go on that the musicians are “Fired up” as senior, and bass player for the band Cruise Control, Soren Peterson said.

Nerves were up as each band neared their set time and waited backstage. Preparation beforehand was key to performing well with bands practicing for months before the night of the performance.

“We practiced four times a week at least,” Jacob Miller, senior and guitar player for Cruise Control, said.

Coming up with a good setlist is also a big part of playing in the Battle of the Bands. Songs people know and that are fun to play will get the most points. Judges score off of a sheet with around five criteria that they look and listen for. The results from the three judges determine which bands place in the top three at the end of the performance.

“Our current setlist really solidified itself about a month ago,” Peterson said.

For those bands who place there are rewards of $75, $150, and $300 for third, second and first places respectively. This year the band Bagel Hole got third, RBS got second and Annunaki took home the first place prize.

“I have an immense amount of respect for Annunaki as musicians,” Miller said.

Comradery between bands is also a big subject when it comes to this competition. Bands want everyone to have fun including the other performers as well. Newer and returning bands alike help to hype up the other players so that everyone has an amazing experience that they could look back fondly on and possibly bring them back the next year.

“Try not to get imposter syndrome, but I just remind myself how I started,” Lily Shaefer said about drummers in the other bands.

Lots of them are in the band program at school and they’re just, you know, consummate professionals. Really well rounded musicians.”

— Soren Peterson

There were two new bands playing their first performance this year, one of which being Cruise Control. The members had varying responses to performing in front of an audience. Miller was in last years talent show, Peterson was comfortable on stage because of speech, and drummer Lilly Schaefar had never performed in front of an audience. However, even with the varying comfortability of the members, they played a great set that the audience greatly enjoyed.

“Lots of the performers are in the band program at school and they’re just, you know, consummate professionals. Really well rounded musicians,” Peterson said about the other bands competing.

Every band was greeted as they took the stage and encouraged throughout their set with cheers from audience members. Audience engagement is a huge part of a band’s set. Some bands will get the audience to clap with them to the beat of the song while others might go for a little more of an interactive option. One band this year even encouraged the audience to sing the last chorus of their final song.

All proceeds that were made by the Battle of the Bands ticket sales went to an organization that strives to eliminate stigma around mental health called Morgan’s Message. The annual Battle of the Bands continues to be a favorite event for students during Blast Week.

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About the Contributor
Ian Lunneborg
Ian Lunneborg, Broadcast Video Editor
My name is Ian Lunneborg, I am a junior, and I’m a video editor for the Pony Express. I play Ultimate Frisbee and mountain bike for school sports and I play bass guitar in a band as a hobby. I love listening to and making music as well as watching movies. I am most looking forward to improving my video editing skills and hopefully doing some camera work.  

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