Five bands rocked the Marvin Center this weekend at Epsilon Sigma Alpha’s fourth annual Battle of the Bands, a community service event held to raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
About 300 people attended the event, which raised “several thousand dollars,” ESA President Hope Tenenbaum said.
Tenenbaum, a senior, said the fourth annual event was a milestone for the organization.
“This is a special moment for me because I helped with the first Battle of the Bands my freshman year,” she said.
The jam-packed lineup opened with The Mighty Heard, a funk band that worked the crowd before student bands like East Coast Caravan and Riots and Poetry took the stage.
The Mighty Heard won the judge’s prize and the band TnTrio won the audience’s vote.
“I don’t know that much about the bands, but I was surprised at how good the opening band was,” sophomore Julia Byrd said. “I think the event is great; it’s for a good cause.”
Sophomore Isaiah Toney, a member of the band Lucky Dub, said he was asked at the last minute to step in as one of three guest judges for the band competition.
“I think being a student judge offers a unique position,” Toney said, sitting alongside two professional representatives from the 9:30 Club. “Part of the way you judge this is not just who is the best, but how the band connects with the audience, and we can see that.”
The evening hit a somber note when a mother and her 10-year-old daughter, a cancer survivor who received treatment at the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, shared their story with the crowd.
“I was told Karina had about a 10 to 20 percent chance of surviving her cancer,” Marci Hurtado said of her then 3-year-old child.
“As you can see, St. Jude’s does wonderful things. Here we are seven years later; with St. Jude’s help, we beat the odds.”
Alongside a shy, smiling daughter, Hurtado thanked the crowd for its efforts in the fight against cancer.
“You don’t know how much all of this means for the families of St. Jude’s,” Hurtado said.
“Hopefully there will come a day when we find a cure for cancer and we won’t have to keep doing this. Thank you very much.”