McNicholas musicians compete in Battle of the Bands

On Friday March 22, student bands will compete for the winning title in the annual McNicholas Battle of the Bands.  This year’s competition will feature four groups, each including at least one member from McNicholas, performing a variety of music for the audience.  The Milestone offers an exclusive look at each of the bands competing in Friday’s event, including Finished Falling, Entheonaut, King of Spades, and Starlit Skies.

Finished Falling – Nathan Hazzard, Zach Hazzard, and Eric Frey

Finished Falling (formerly known as System Failure), got their start in spring of 2012 when brothers Zach and Nathan Hazzard combined their guitar talents with the drumming skills of Eric Frey.  Prior to the band’s formation, the Hazzard brothers had been practicing guitar with a different drummer since 2007.  Nathan and Frey met during their freshman year at McNick, and the two began practicing their music together as soon as Nathan learned that his new friend could play the drums.  Later that year, the two friends decided to start a band with Nathan’s brother, Zach.

The 2013 Battle of the Bands will be the first competition for Finished Falling, who will be playing two original songs as well as a collection of covers that range from pop-punk to hard rock.

“We’re trying to get people to hear our music and get exposure for our band,” Nathan said.  “For this competition, we’re all about having a good time and putting on a good show.”

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Entheonaut – Corey Shrader, Casey Sumner (Turpin), and Patrick Hennekes (Turpin)

Self-described as having a “pre-post experimental jazzmanian metal/electroprogressive” musical style, the experimental group Entheonaut features the talents of Casey Sumner, Patrick Hennekes, and McNick’s own Corey Shrader.  The group began as “Midnight Silence” when Shrader and Sumner began making music as sixth graders at IHM, and eventually, as the band’s lineup changed, they added Hennekes and became known as “Entheonaut” in 2011.

This certainly isn’t the first competition for the band.  In 2010, Entheonaut took first place in the McNicholas Battle of the Bands and second in Turpin the same year.  Since then, they have competed in various local competitions, each year in the Anderson Battle, and have released their first extended play, “The Jello EP.”  Check it out on their website.

“For us, it’s not about winning anything,” Shrader said.  “We just love to play music for people, and it feels really great to see people enjoy something we’ve created, to see it have a positive effect on their attitudes.  That’s where my passion for music came from in the first place – all I want is for people to get something from what I’ve created.”


Starlit Skies – Joseph Trentman, Corey Witsken, Connor Powers, and Alex Roa

Alternative punk-rock band Starlit Skies member Corey Witsken wants audiences to know that names can be deceiving.   “O

ur music is something you wouldn’t expect a band called ‘Starlit Skies’ to play. Our music is punk rock/alternative but just a different version of it. Our guitar and bass parts aren’t just simple chords, and the drums aren’t just a straight rock beat – they’re very thought out and put together uniquely.  Even our lyrics are a little different from what some would consider punk rock/alternative.”
Composed of Witsken, drummer;  Alex Roa, bassist;  Connor Powers,  guitarist; and vocalist Joey Trentman, Starlit

Skies was brought together through years of band practice, outside work, and similar music tastes.  Originally drawing their inspiration from bands such as Blink 182, the bands’ unique alternative sound has earned them an encore performance at the Edge Teen Center in West Chester, where they have been asked to play on multiple occasions.

This is the first Battle of the Bands for Starlit Skies, and members are eager to reach this important milestone.  “Competin

g in the Battle of Bands is mainly for exposure; for people to know who we are, for them to listen to our music, and to get our band out there and heard,” Witsken said.  “It could also mean more gigs for us in the future, which means more exposure and more people to hear our music and for us to be heard.”


King of Spades – Alex Tomblin, Matt Forsthoefel, Chase Jeffries (University of Cincinnati), Miles Jeffries (Turpin), Alison Meineke, Daniel Maue (Miami Valley Christian Academy), and Isaac Owens (Miami Valley Christian Academy)

As the largest band in this year’s competition, and the only entry to feature a female member, King of Spades brings together talents from four different schools.  Through a series of mutual connections, four new members were added this year to the group’s original lineup of Matt Forsthoefel, Alison Meineke, and Isaac Owens.   Having competed in the 2009 McNick Battle of the Bands, guitarist Alex Tomblin hopes that this year’s competition will have its focus on creating an enjoyable atmosphere for musicians and audience members alike.

This year, King of Spades plans on playing a variety of songs that the audience will know, such as “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey, and “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi.  In addition to five covers, the band also plans to debut their own original song at this year’s Battle of the Bands, in order to add their own style to the competition.

“For my band, it’s not exactly a competition,” Tomblin said.  “Taking part in the Battle of the Bands would not only be an excellent way to promote a fund raiser for McNick, but it’s also a great experience for the bands and the student audience.”

Doors open Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m. in the McNicholas main gym, with an admission cost of $5.  The show is anticipated to last until 10:00, allowing ample time for each band to perform a full set.  All audience members will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite band.

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