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Battle of the Bands - Look What We Did Again!
Release Date: November 25, 2014

The Sussex County Department of Human Services, Municipal Alliance hosted the second annual "Does Your School Rock? Battle of the Bands Championship" at McNiece Auditorium in Sparta, on Saturday, November 15, 2014.

Look What We Did Again!

2014 Battle of the Bands

The Sussex County Department of Human Services, Municipal Alliance hosted the second annual "Does Your School Rock? Battle of the Bands Championship" at McNiece Auditorium in Sparta, on Saturday, November 15, 2014. The program is funded by the Governor's Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and this year, WNNJ radio (103.7 FM) co-sponsored the event. Every high school in Sussex County was invited to participate in a competition of garage bands. This year five schools were represented by the six acts that competed and last year's winning band returned as a non-competitor to exhibit some of their music.

The show saw the return of some of the performers from last year's show and the return of "No Vertebrae," last year's champion. Each performer represented their high school extremely well, and you could tell the audience enjoyed all of them. The night was hosted by Nick Loizzi, the Sussex County Municipal Alliance Coordinator and emcee for the evening. In between acts, Loizzi presented some interesting information to the audience about underage drinking, which included a PowerPoint presentation.

Ryan Sunda
Ryan Sunda of the
Pond Hogs
(Photo: J. Gilgannon)
The first performance was by the "Surveillance Bears" from Sparta High School. This band included several performers from last year and performed a stimulating set of Alternative Rock songs that got the show going. "Infinium" from Sussex Tech followed with some original Heavy Metal music and an excellent cover of Metallica. Returning from last year's show was "The Pond Hogs" from High Point Regional High School. This band expanded since last year, adding a drummer and bassist. They entertained the crowd with their set of Acoustic Grunge and Folk Rock. Their set finished with a cover of the Stevie Nicks song, "Edge of Seventeen." Loizzi commented afterward that he would never have imagined that a 6 foot 3 inch man could pull off Stevie Nicks the way lead singer Ryan Sunda did. Connor Blake from Vernon High School also returned with an acoustic variety of original songs. "Non-Toxic" a band that included students from Kittatinny Regional High School was next. Their high energy set electrified the audience. The competition was rounded out by a performance from the group, "The Core," a five piece band playing Heavy Metal music mixed with Punk representing both Sussex Tech and Sparta High School.

All the performers deserve high praise for their efforts. Five judges including Borasio, the morning show DJ and Gary Cee, the afternoon host from WNNJ, Kristen Thompson and Mark Turtur from the Sussex County Division of Community and Youth Services, and Brian Westervelt of the band "No Vertebrae" were given the difficult task of rating the performances. While their scores were tabulated, "No Vertebrae" entertained the audience with a playlist of original songs. Finally, after all the scores were tallied up, the winning band was announced. CONGRATULATIONS to "Non-Toxic"!! Their win gives Kittatinny Regional High School two winning years in a row.

Non Toxic
"Non-Toxic" performs at the "Does Your School Rock? Battle of the Bands" on November 15, 2014 (Photo: J. Gilgannon)

Sussex County Technical High School teacher Michael Ventresco and his students also deserve praise for their work videotaping the event and interviewing the bands for a documentary that will be shown later this year. We can't wait to see how the DVD comes out!

Thank you to everyone who participated and helped make this year's event a success! We look forward to doing it again next year.

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A message from the Department of Human Services, Division of Community and Youth Services, One Spring Street, Newton, N.J. 07860 Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Phone 973-940-5200 Fax 862-268-8013 communityservices@sussex.nj.us.

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