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Deadwood Floats survives Battle of the Bands

Daniel Chi / Lantern photographer

More than $3,330 was raised for charity at the 14th Annual Battle of the Bands, sponsored by sophomore honorary Romophos, which is going to be used to fund music programs for underprivileged schoolchildren.

The concert, which took place at Newport Music Hall Thursday, benefits the Columbus CityMusic’s Musical Opportunities Reward Everyone program, an initiative that helps fund school music programs in an age when some programs often wind up on a school board’s chopping block.

“We wanted to do something more local,” said Ben Hemmelgarn, a second-year in molecular genetics and Romophos president. “We sort of searched around for a group we wanted to donate to. We fell in love with what they actually did, and we thought that it was extremely appropriate.”

Heidi Howes, executive director of CityMusic, said she was surprised when Romophos contacted her with the news that it had chosen to fund her program.

“We were ecstatic because it’s increasingly harder to fund things in music and the arts,” Howes said. “Especially to come from students, it’s really special for us. It’s the kind of acknowledgement that makes us feel like we are doing something important.”

The concert drew about 330 people and tickets were $10.

The bands, which included Scrimshaw and the Mariner, Wooden Teeth, Big Game and Deadwood Floats, were drawn from the Columbus area and competed for seven hours of recording time at local Oranjudio Recording Studio. The prize ultimately went to Deadwood Floats.

“It’s a pretty good cause,” said Deadwood Floats vocalist Adam Schutz. “Music is important to all of us.”

Some Ohio State performing arts groups also performed, including the a capella groups Key of Gee and Scarlet Fever and performers from the OSU Department of Dance. Throughout the night, restaurant gift cards, posters and other prizes were given away. While listening to the bands, students were offered free food from Raising Cane’s Chicken, Chipotle and other restaurants.

The night started out fairly slow, with about 30 people on the floor in front of the stage during the first few bands. By the end of the night, however, the crowd had become much more receptive to the performances, and more than 100 students crowded in front of the stage.

Many students said they enjoyed the show.

“The concert was good, the food was really great, and having been in choir, I know how much music can mean to people,” said Ryan Cooper, a first-year in psychology. “It’s a really awesome cause.”  

Cooper said some of the rock bands were a little too loud for his taste, though.

Karthik Hari, a second-year in engineering, said she had a good time at the event.

“I thought it was really well organized, especially for an organization with new members each year,” Hari said.

Though Hemmelgarn said he was pleased with the amount of money donated, he said Romophos still fell short of its original goal to surpass last year’s earnings.

“We raised just over $4,000 last year, and we wanted to hit that goal this year, but we were still really happy with what we got,” Hemmelgarn said.

Hemmelgarn said the decline in profits might have been due to packages that allowed 10 tickets to be bought for $75. He said it also might have been the fact that ticket prices weren’t as high as he thought they could have been.  

Though Hemmelgarn and other Romophos members will move on to different honoraries next year, he said he has high hopes for future Battle of the Bands.

“There’s always room for improvement,” he said. “If there’s anything I’d focus on more, it would be the marketing aspect. We could definitely sell more tickets, and there are different avenues that could be explored, such as putting up more posters in the library and on buses.”

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