Battle of the Bands showcase rockin' THHS
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
Two Harbors High School auditorium is the place to see and hear the next generation of musicians and singers. Will the Friday, Feb. 22, Battle of the Bands showcase reveal the next Slow Hand or Springsteen? In spite of the name, there will be no winners or losers. It’s more of an opportunity for students to wow the crowd.
The bill has not been finalized, but according to Dave Haaversen, music teacher at THHS, there will be over 20 groups or performers participating. Sixth grade teacher Brien Getten has been helping students prepare for the event.
“Brien has been working with kids, including kids in his sixth-eighth grade class, who are interested in performing” said Haaversen, adding that Getten has also been coordinating collaborations between students, so that singers have musical accompaniment and kids without an established band can join other groups of musicians. There will also be performers who already have some experience on stage.
“There will be some established bands that have done some performing. It’s all for fun. It’s music for music’s sake,” Haaversen said.
According to the student musicians, the playlists will represent a range of genres including pop, ska, metal, punk, indie-folk, hippie and classic rock. Brett Peppenger will be playing on Friday night with his band, Set Fire to Faith. He cites Ozzy Osborne as one of his influences. Peppenger said he’s been involved in music for years.
“I’ve been a musician since I was six. That’s when I picked up a guitar for the first time,” he recalled.
Getten has been teaching in Two Harbors for five years, moving to the area after 20 years in Minnetonka schools. While there, he started a rock and roll club for students, which he replicated at THHS. The club meets Friday afternoons and is an inclusive environment for kids, not all of whom are musicians, he said.
“I try to find the kids who don’t feel they have a place and give them a reason to show up,” Getten explained. Students who aren’t performing are helping with ticket and t shirt sales, set up and a host of other tasks.
In addition to showcasing local talent, Battle of the Bands is a fund raiser — an opportunity for the community to support music education and involvement. Getten said some of the money will be used to support the Rock and Roll Club’s goal of becoming more self-sustaining. The item at the top of the wish list is a bigger mixing board.
“I hope to have our own stuff, as nice as it is to have people help us out,” he said, acknowledging the generosity of those who have loaned equipment. So far, Getten said that donations by Cooperative Light and Power, Two Harbors Student Council and proceeds from the Heritage Days balloon lantern launch, have allowed him to purchase sound equipment, which can be used by members of the club when they perform outside of school.
Both Getten and Haaversen are enthusiastic about the potential of music to make a difference in the lives of students.
“It’s a positive outlet for creativity and science has shown that positive chemicals are released when you’re playing or listening to music,” said Getten.
In a separate interview with the News-Chronicle, Haaversen had this to say about the role of music: “Music is about emotion and human connection. This is a style of music that gets to kids and gives them an opportunity to explore a side of themselves that they might not otherwise. If they can get their teeth into it early, maybe they’ll continue to come back.”
Tickets for the Battle of the Bands showcase will be sold for $5 with t-shirts for $10.
The event is slated to begin at 6 p.m. and due to the number of performers, it could continue until 10 p.m., said Haaversen, so the showcase will be informal—allowing audience members to come and go throughout the evening.