By Tiffany A (Year 10) - lead singer of SVARGA
Battle of the Bands was a phenomenal and remarkable experience for myself and for all of my band members, to say the least. Besides the Silver award, we left the competition with so much insight, motivation, and inspiration on how to improve our own band.
Sitting there, the passion that the other contestants displayed was exceptional, and in true honesty, at one point it seemed like we were all attending a collective concert of many diverse bands that differed in genre, size, and musicality. Creativity was overflowing the atmosphere of the auditorium. Attention-grabbing introductions, costumes of bands (some with white face paint and black lipstick, others wearing ties as of a typical high school band), and how a notable band managed without a lead singer but with a single violin soloist to carry out the melody of Bohemian Rhapsody.
The preparations we made leading up to the final round of the Battle of the Bands were definitely not easy but, at the same time, a rewarding experience. Baffled between song choices, our band came up with a mashup to incorporate the best parts of three iconic songs that burst with attitude and teenage angst (Bad Reputation: Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Teenagers: My Chemical Romance, and Arabella: Arctic Monkeys). The challenging but satisfying aspects of preparing a mashup were the transitions. But by playing around with inserting drum fill-ins and guitar solos, we came up with two smooth transitions that we are very proud of!
The week of the Battle of the Bands was a jittery and tense week for us all, having only had three performances prior to this competition. It’s safe to say that we are a rather new band that is yet to have a secure band chemistry and stage presence, which we were all worried would affect our performance. Thankfully, our dedication to practice together often would not come to waste, and performing on that day was simply to show off our hard work over the past few weeks. We were the first to play in our category, which was certainly intimidating, but at the same time, we wouldn’t have to worry about other bands but simply perform to the best of our ability and set the bar for the other bands to worry about. After performing, great relief and anxiety were lifted from our shoulders, and we were left to enjoy the rest of the band’s performances at ease, knowing we put in 100%.
Upon watching the other bands perform, we were moved by renditions of classic rock songs that had very thoughtful arrangements and marvelled at the virtuosic playing of so many of these talented musicians. Most of all, we observed the confidence and cohesiveness of these older bands, which we could see had been assembled for a long time to achieve that sense of natural chemistry and closeness that was evident in their playing. It was so brilliant to see everyone’s alter-ego and performance persona light up on stage, showing their inner rockstars. Furthermore, the light-hearted atmosphere of BOTB, judges making playful remarks about contestants, and dad jokes related to music made by the MC made us forget that it was a competition at times but rather a gathering of like-minded and equally passionate artists.
This competition was a rare experience to participate in. Passing the auditions and getting into the final round was an amazing experience, giving us the opportunity to perform with such a hyped-up crowd and skilled musicians whom we’ve had the privilege to connect with. These are the memorable moments and ideas that will enhance our band a mile further, ready for next year’s competition!