For the second straight year, the Church of the Resurrection in Rochester is set to rock.
So far, seven bands — nearly twice the number of soloists and groups from last year — have registered to compete or perform in the Feb. 15 Battle of the Bands contest. There is a Jan. 31 registration deadline. Last year, the group of Elle Pollock, Kris Tremain and Mitchell Nelson took home several hundred dollars in prize money in a contest that featured four local bands.
The idea of a band contest emerged from a brainstorming session of students involved in youth ministry who were challenged to come up with an idea that would “make their corner of the world a better place,” said Georges Montillet, a youth minister. All of the student participants were musicians and thus Battle of the Bands was born.
The battle also serves as a performing outlet for teenage musicians and groups that are still too young to perform in bars and more adult venues but whose music has a professional quality. For instance, Pollock, a high school senior and singer, records original music and sells it on iTunes, and has several thousand views for music videos on YouTube.
“Just the fact that there’s a lot of talent here in Rochester and that younger kids don’t really get an opportunity to play as much,” Montillet said.
The event will be hosted in Father Zink Hall at the Church of the Resurrection starting at 5 p.m. Feb. 15, A first-place $400 prize will go to the band or soloist who wins the most points from a combination of audience votes and rankings from a panel of judges. The panel will be comprised of band directors from local high schools. The second-place winner will get $100.
Asked whether a church venue places limits on the kind of music that can be performed, Montillet said one competing group last year was a heavy metal band.
“I couldn’t understand the words,” he said. “Some of the parents had voiced concern, ‘What if they have inappropriate words?’ I couldn’t even understand what was being said.”
He also said that the lead singer for the heavy metal group later joined the Center Street Singers and sang four-part harmony. Most of the planning and organizing is done by the students, most of whom come from Mayo and Lourdes high school but also includes representation from John Marshall and Century.
Most of the groups that performed last year had professional ambitions, but the event is open to those with less lofty dreams.
“I’m OK with having kids with a more hobbyist approach to the music, but there definitely kids that really take music seriously,” Montillet said. “They want to perform. They want experience on stage. And they want feedback. It’s a little bit like ‘American Idol.'”
What: Second annual Battle of the Bands
When: Monday, Feb. 15 at 5 p.m.
Where: Church of the Resurrection, 1600 11th Ave. S.E., Rochester, Minn.
Winner wins $400, second place $100.
Registration deadline for bands and soloists is Jan. 31. To register, contact Georges Montillet at firstname.lastname@example.org. Church of the Resurrection is located at 1600 11th Ave. S.E., Rochester, Minn.
This years bands signed up so far
Fauna & Flora
The 9th Planet Out
Autumn Ridge Church Band
The Green Machine
Joann Reier (Resurrection)
Dan Sherman (John Marshall High School)
Brynn Boyd (Lourdes High School)
Aaron Cole (Mayo High School)