Kaneland bands ‘battle’ for worthwhile cause

By on May 22, 2014

KANELAND—Bands came together last month in the Kaneland High School auditorium to raise money for the Kaneland community.

The name of the event was “Band Night.” Attendees paid $5 at the door and gave donations to vote on whom they thought was the best-playing high school band through a “battle of the bands.”

Tim Larsen, math teacher at Kaneland High School, organized the event along with several KHS students. Larsen said that $1,126 was raised at Band Night, and approximately 150 or so people attended the event.

Larsen said that the fundraiser was a success, and that the students played really well.

“As far as just kind of a venue-style rock-and-roll- type of show, there isn’t one of those,” Larsen said. “And so it was great to see the kids involved in that.”

According to Lori Grant, instructional coach and co-sponsor of Peer Leadership at KHS, the money raised will go to the Kaneland Cares fund.

She wrote in an email that a committee, including administrators and teachers, will make distribution decisions that are based on need.

According to Grant, the money raised will help struggling families, including Kaneland High School staff and students. She noted that one student and two staff members are affected by cancer.

Grant said that money could be dispersed in forms like gas cards and groceries.

Bands that performed consisted of KHS students. The Soul 7 consisted of students from the school’s jazz band. Business Casual played current Top 40 pop tunes—and Larsen said that guys wore suspenders and bowties. A blend of of instruments could be heard, including banjo and acoustic guitar.

The Holiday End played alternative rock cover songs.

Larsen’s band, The Bare Hambones, even made an appearance. A piano player and lead singer, he describes his band as a “roots” act.

“The origins are folk music or bluegrass or country,” Larsen said. “But we play a little louder and a little faster.”

As for the students’ response to seeing Mr. Larsen on stage, they were indeed surprised.

“I don’t think they expected for our band to be as put together as we are,” Larsen said. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. So we play a lot of shows in Chicago and around the Midwest. And so when we got up there and right when we started, the kids got into it right away and they were clapping and hollering along.”

Kaneville resident Mitch Bateman, a KHS senior, and Mr. Kaneland 2014, volunteered to help put on the event. Bateman also performed in Business Casual, which won the popular vote for the best band during the battle.

“It was really cool,” Bateman said. “It was such an event. We had worked on that thing for probably two, two-and-a half weeks. And just seeing all the hard work pay off was really awesome.”

Fellow band member Alex “Buzz” Buzenski, a KHS senior and Sugar Grove resident, also volunteered his services for the event.

“For me, especially, with the values I’ve been instilled with, you need to help the people around you,” Buzenski said. “I firmly believe in that.”