Battle of the Bands 2023: A Farewell to M-A’s Music Teacher

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M-A hosted its annual Battle of the Bands on Friday, May 12th. The event included a variety of student bands filled with young musical talents such as Bear Necessities and Hermanos de Oro. However, what made the night the most special was its dedication to band and music teacher, Kent Kurrus, who will be retiring at the end of this school year.

On the Green, guests were welcomed by a sea of picnic blankets, burger stands, and bake sales. The three judges for the show were Otsuka, Knowles, and Kurrus, who each vote on the winning band of the night based on their own individual criteria. The winner of this year’s Battle of the Bands played an unforgettable encore, and will perform at the Spring Rally and Spring Carnival. 

The first band to start the night was Nocturnal Paranoia (sophomore Alice Sauquet, freshmen Chloe Kummerer and Sarah Tomlinson, senior Nadia Ruiz, and junior Logan Greenbaum) who played one of their original songs called “More.” Greenbaum explained that their band’s genre is a mix of different songs. “We’ve got oldies, punk, and pop music,” Greenbaum said. 

The Bear Necessities (sophomores William Knox, Benjamin Cisco, Max Gurnee, Arman Azadpour, Joshua Pfistner, and Benjamin Weiss; juniors Carson Sanie, Caleb Travers, Sina Kassayan, and Zachary Gosler) followed that performance with an instrumental cover of “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John. The band finished their set by lightening the crowd’s mood with some light jazz and feel-good music.

Agnes (sophomore Casey St. Clair and juniors Sergio Ramirez, Audrey Baker, and James Polly) was next on the queue, and played a fun combination of punk rock music with their drums and electric guitars. Lead singer Baker said, “We had a really good time practicing and it was very fun performing all our songs.” 

One musician who especially stood out that night—freshman Zach Quintana—performed “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a great crowd-pleaser and favorite for many of the adults attending the event. Although he performed solo, his performance was fun and impressive. 

As the sun began to set, Petricolor (juniors Sophia Duda and Zachary Gosler, sophomore Luke Lindsey, and freshman Rose Klingsporn) brought the energy with LED lights on their instruments and electric guitar solos. Klingsporn, the drummer, even inspired the crowd to join in on head banging to the music. Petricolor concluded their performance with an original song called “Good Enough.” Duda, the lead singer, was witty and refreshing when introducing each song while engaging everyone and bringing excitement to the event. 

Andromeda’s Children (junior Aimee Vera and seniors Jorge Lopez, Roman Sepulveda, and Joshua Calonje-Quintero) played a collection of current songs by artists such as Childish Gambino and Frank Ocean. The younger generation in the crowd was ecstatic when the band started their set with “Redbone” by Childish Gambino. Before performing a cover of “Ivy” by Frank Ocean, the lead singer announced, “Frank Ocean didn’t play very well at Coachella, so we’re here trying to be better!”

The Band Kids (freshman Connor Chang and sophomores Benjamin Weiss and Lia Lev) performed next, playing a collection of songs from all different genres such as covers of Taylor Swift, Elton John, The Jackson Five, and Extreme. Every song was a hit with the crowd as everyone sang along to “You Belong with Me” while Lev held up signs to Kurrus that read, “This is his last year. We dedicate this to Mr. Kurrus. He will be missed. This is not a bribe. We love you Kurrus.” During “Crocodile Rock,” the crowd started dancing and moshing in the front next to the stage! To finish their set, The Band Kids played a cover of “More Than Words” by Extreme while the crowd swayed together with flashlights in their hands. 

The last band to perform was Los Hermanos de Oro (M-A alumni Adrian Medina, junior Angel Lombera, and senior Noel Duarte) who won first place in last year’s Battle of the Bands. The band came out onto the stage in matching outfits and an energy ready to woo the crowd. Even before the first stroke of their guitars, the crowd was already preparing to move towards the front to dance. They showed the crowd and the judges their impressive musical talent when the band got the crowd going with remarkable guitar solos. Many of the previous bands joined the crowd to form one large dance circle, arms linked together while others danced around the center.

The final decision for the vote came down to musicality and originality. Although all the bands proved themselves to be great competitors and fantastic musicians, the judges concluded that this year, Petricolor would be the winners of the Battle of the Bands for 2023! They performed an encore with the song “Party in the U.S.A.” by Miley Cyrus, which made the crowd roar with excitement as they celebrated the final song of the night.

Although the night had great success from the musicians, it was also a tearful goodbye to M-A’s band and music teacher. Students showed their appreciation for all that Kurrus had done for the school with many hugs and a bouquet of flowers. Kurrus said, “The night brought some tears, and the last time I cried was when my dad died, so it moved me a lot. It felt bittersweet for me because I’m also ready to be graduating.” Kurrus admitted his admiration for his students as he said, “I love my students and I’m going to miss them. They are what keep me coming back every day.” With a farewell to Kurrus and an exceptional winner for the contest, this year’s Battle of the Bands is certainly one to remember.

Melanie Anderson is a senior at M-A. She is interested in writing about pop culture both here at M-A and within the city's community. She likes to challenge new ideas and bring light to hidden stories. In her free time, Melanie enjoys dance, traveling, and reading.

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