By Megan Bartlett & Mary Husser
On Mar. 23rd, around 30-40 students gathered in the cafeteria, arm in arm, hands locked, to listen to the musical talents of this year’s Battle of the Bands performances.
There were eight total acts on this night. Out of the eight, several were solo, while others were full bands. Also, there were some collaborations.
Overall, each group had a different motive to showcase their talents. Some came on a more personal level.
In the case of senior Kayla Ouderkirk, Battle of the Bands was her first time performing in front of a crowd, on an actual stage. One might not have guessed that though, based on her catchy songs and comfortable presence. Each song that she performed, she had written herself.
“I was so nervous,” Ouderkirk said. “I’m really bad in front of people. But then, they respond differently. I feel like it was a good response,” Ouderkirk said.
For Ouderkirk, who composed her own music by memory, the amount of practice required may be considered minimal compared to a full band.
“Right before the performance I went through my songs,” Ouderkirk said. “I didn’t prepare at all that week, but they were all in my head. I was comfortable, it was nice.”
By the end of her act, the audience applauded her and asked for an encore. The song she chose was one that she spontaneously wrote for her mom one year at summer camp. Her mom was able to observe in the crowd.
“I had like a day or two to write the song, and I just kind of threw it together,” Ouderkirk said. “My family would help me by going through the lyrics with me. But it was pretty easy because my mom’s just that way. It was really fun to write a song like that.”
Although not a professional, Kayla’s used her music to communicate with the audience.
“Not many people know that I sing and play the guitar. I think it’s just because it’s something that I do for myself.”
Whiteout also performed this year. The band consists of juniors Eric Drecnpohl, Nathan Schell, Kenny Grove and Daniel Engwis. Whiteout is well known around DHS for their rocky- jazz style of music. To prepare for opportunities like Battle of the Bands or any other gig, Whiteout practices every Saturday for about four or five hours.
Drummer and singer Daniel Engwis, who played for both Whiteout and Danny Hill’s band, felt that both performances went well, and a sufficient number of students and adults actually showed up this year.
“I listened to a recording of us and I thought we sounded really good,” Engwis said. “And the turnout was a lot better than previous years.”
Among those who stayed for every performance is sophomore Lizzie Stokes.
“I got to see people from around my school play or sing that I had never heard play or sing before,” Stokes said. “And that was cool.”
Stokes particularly enjoyed the acts of Jack Thompson, Ouderkirk and Ryan Martini.
“I really liked Kayla Ouderkirk’s performance,” Stokes said. “She’s a really good singer and she writes her own songs. I can really respect that. I also enjoyed Jack’s performance a lot, and Ryan Martini’s echoes were sweet.”
Senior Jamie Loubert also attended and liked the diversity of the music coming from the cafeteria.
“I could appreciate the music even though it wasn’t really my style,” Loubert said. “I really liked Jack Thompson.”
With a better turnout than usual, those participating in Battle of the Bands are hoping for a continually growing crowd over the next few years.