When Evanston Township High School freshman Jamie Davis organized a Battle of the Bands for local rock and roll groups over Memorial Day weekend, he anticipated it would be a good chance for musicians to perform.
What he did not expect, but was delighted to see, was a lively evening at Haven Middle School that included a mosh pit of about 150 jumping and screaming young rock and roll fans. “I knew we were on a roll when the first band member body-surfed the crowd,” Jamie said.
As rock and roll concerts go, the Haven event would not be mistaken for Woodstock. It was the first of its kind at Haven and a fundraiser for sound equipment for the auditorium, but still the reaction to the fine music of the young local musicians excited the crowd beyond the organizers’ hopes.
The light show and a smoke machine led one of the audience members to comment, “That was great. Those kids really felt like they were at a concert.”
During his years at Haven, Jamie worked sound and lights for all the Haven productions and was able to solve the odd computer glitch for Principal Kathy Roberson. Jamie presented his idea and extensive plans to her and to Assistant Principal Fred Hunter, who decided to make it happen. Mr. Hunter drew in the Haven Booster Club to provide parents to sponsor and supervise the event.
Jamie and Seth Jenkins, who first conceived the idea for a Battle of the Bands while on Haven’s Springfield field trip last year, worked together to produce the event. The band members were mainly ETHS students, but once the word was out, Haven bands asked if they could perform too. Jamie was the tech director and lighting designer, and Sam Gartzman, Lily Saywitz, Ruth Starr (who also designed the poster of two guitars in a stand- off), Morgan Sweeney, Mike Sweeney and Forrest Kelly were the tech crew. Miracle Jenkins was the emcee.
The Battle was set up to be a competition with a $75 award for first place and $25 each for second and third place. The three judges for the competition, seated at a table on the stage where they had a good view, were Haven parents Bill McCrory, Junu Kim and Andy Sohn. The Reflects with Giorgos Losoff, Timmy Rosenberg, Chris Medrano, Jeremy Layton and Sam Colgate, took first place. White Noise took second place and Breakfast of Champions, third.