Young musicians battle for big stage

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Edwin Parr Composite School hosts annual Battle of the Bands

Young local musicians took to the stage in front of hundreds of their peers to prove their musical mettle at Edwin Parr Composite School’s (EPC) annual Battle of the Bands May 4.

Ten musical acts in total competed at the event in the EPC gym. Each act was scored by a panel of judges with the winner earning a place on stage at the Magnificent River Rats Festival July 1, as well as studio recording time.

Event organizer and EPC teacher John Traynor said in an interview the event is about encouraging musical enthusiasm in kids.

“It’s all about the kids and trying to get them interested in music. To try to get them out and participating and being leaders in the community,” Traynor said. “To see those kids have the courage and strength enough to get up there and perform like that, it always amazed me.”

Soloist Ayden Burger won the top prize at this year’s Battle of the Bands for her renditions of The Scientist by Coldplay and Dead Sea by The Lumineers.

Burger said it was nerve-wracking performing in front of the EPC crowd, which Traynor estimated was over 600 people. But the enthusiasm of the crowd helped her, she added.

“I was pretty nervous at first because sometimes it’s hard to see the keys when its dark,” Burger said. “But it felt good because the whole crowd was just clapping and waving their phones around so I wasn’t too nervous when I got up there.”

She added the Battle of the Bands gave her good performing experience.

“Experience performing in front of a big crowd,” Burger said. “How to talk to a crowd and stage presence.”

The opportunity to perform at the Magnificent River Rats Festival is a big deal for local musicians, Traynor said.

“Playing on that big stage on Canada Day, that’s huge for any young band,” Traynor said. “It helps out their confidence and it helps them practice their talents and their skills.”

Traynor said it is an important time of year for tests in schools, but it was good for students to get a chance to take a break and enjoy some music.

“To allow the academic kids to come down and have a day of enjoyment of music was very important and special,” he said.

Adults up next

Local adult musicians will get their own chance to battle for an opportunity to perform at the Magnificent River Rats Festival.

The festival society is hosting the Athabasca Showcase at Neighbours Pub May 12. Local musicians will battle at the showcase for a $500 top prize and a paid performance at the festival.

The event starts at 8 p.m. People interested in entering can contact mrrfestival@gmail.com.

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