Hundreds of teens and parents packed Maryland Hall Saturday night to rock out and cheer on their favorite bands in the 13th annual Anne Arundel County High School Battle of the Bands.
Hosted by Danny Mays, marketing manager of the event and a bassist for Gold Mind Squad, the competition showcased 12 bands who were selected from schools across the county. The Maryland State Education Association served as a major sponsor for the event.
While Greg Wolf, 17, a drummer for the band, called the group’s performance “shaky,” he said the experience was one he won’t forget.
“It’s awesome,” he said, adding that there were a lot of really nice people there competing.
Nancy Almgren, the founder and director of the event, started Battle of the Bands in 1999 as a project for Leadership Anne Arundel.
Almgren said she got the idea after talking to her son, who was a teenager at the time, and realizing that he didn’t know who the other bands in county high schools were. She decided it would be a great idea to introduce the different bands to each other in a spectacular setting.
Almgren said it’s the true talent these bands have that inspires her to put the event together each year.
“After weeks of not sleeping and so much to do, I keep saying ‘I’m not gonna do it again, I’m not gonna do it again’ and then the first band that opens blows me away and I think ‘I’ve got to continue doing this,’” Almgren said.
“It’s so surprising that the kids are this good,” she added.
Almgren said all the money raised at the event will go toward music programs at the schools with bands that place in the top four in the competition.
William Thayer, a music teacher at Southern High School called the concept “wonderful.”
“We’ve been involved with Nancy and this program since it’s inception,” Thayer said, adding that it brings money to the music department and “really helps us.”
For parents, like Bill Hocking, whose son Connor Hocking is a student at Archbishop Spalding High School and a bass player for Nitrix, participating in the event gives the teens exposure and confidence and teaches them how to work as a team.
“It’s a great opportunity ... I’m glad these kids have a chance to show the county what it is they can do,” Hocking said.
This year’s winning band was “Pandomonia” from Severna Park. As part of their prize, the group will get studio time at WrightWay Studios in Baltimore, an interview on 98 Rock and the chance to play at several big concerts and events in the area.
“I am speechless,” said 16-year-old Sam Scardefield, who is a bassist for the group.
Mikey Powers, 16, who plays guitar and does vocals for the group called the experience “awesome, cause none of us expected it at all.”
Drummer Devin McCord,16, said there had been “years of anticipation for this moment.”
The winning bands were:
1st place—Pandomonia (Severna Park)
2nd place—In Soviet Russia (Southern High)
3rd Place—Monkfish, formerly called The Wasted Location (South River High School)
4th place—Capstone (The Key School)