“Battle of the Bands” a hit for all


Evelyn Blower

“The Bassments”, comprised of seniors Andrea Keiper, Ale Human, Addison Matsumura, and Parkland student Dylan Weber play their setlist

Evelyn Blower , Assistant Editor in Chief, Opinion and Features Editor

On a windy April Thursday, the north side of Southern Lehigh High School was abuzz with energy. Students, staff, and family all gathered to celebrate their favorite high school artists who were competing in the Battle of the Bands, organized by high school teachers Mr. Joseph Castagna and Mr. Ryan Haupt, co-hosts of The Spartan Life podcast. 

“I wanted to empower student bands to step out of their comfort zone and perform live rather than from their safety of pre-recorded videos,” said Mr. Castagna, who held last year’s Battle of the Bands online. He and Mr. Haupt hope to make it an annual event. 

Ten student music groups or solo acts played at the event, which ran from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm on April 28th. Bands that were already established or newly created participated in the event.

“This year we got a big crowd, which was definitely new and exciting,” said senior Alexandra Huaman, a member of the band The Bassments. “Last year was all virtual, and the energy of performing [live] was so epic.” 

Junior Xander Romendio’s Death Cab for Cutie-inspired setlist started off the after-school event, followed by groovy covers from The 484. Sophomore Leah Lazurek gave an emotional acoustic performance, followed by Hot Fuzz’s soft rock covers. Senior Michael Lendvay, part of Hot Fuzz, gave his own performance with an alternative kick. 

The all female band who won last year’s BOTB, The Bassments, were a highly anticipated hit with the crowd. They were followed by the Mystic Chain’s mystical set, then Pitchblende’s Linkin Park inspired setlist. Junior Boris Litvak played two French piano pieces and an Italian piece, and the Lads of Kayös, a hard rock metal band, closed out the night. 

“I had a good time and liked putting out my own music,” said Romendio. “I really enjoyed watching others play and liked having the experience with people who showed up and added to the communal experience of the event.”

VIP tickets were available, with prizes varying from gift cards to special school privileges. Lucky winners could use vice principal Mr. Chad Kinslow’s private bathroom for a day, or park in principal Mrs. Beth Guariello’s parking spot for the entire month of May. One coveted prize was the ability to Doordash a school lunch for the winner and three of their friends. 

Money earned from the event went directly to Southern Lehigh’s MiniThon – a high school version of Thon, Penn State University’s 24-hour dance-a-thon – to raise money for pediatric cancer patients and their families. 

No battle is complete without competition. Everyone in attendance voted for their favorite act of the night, comprising 50% of the overall vote. Teachers including MiniThon advisor Mrs. Lauren Tocci, her fellow English teachers Mrs. Amy Bausher and Mr. Jeff Hershey, along with Spanish teacher Ms. Megan Markwich judged the event as well, accounting for the other 50% of the vote.  The winner of the night, Lads of Kayös – senior Brian Farrell, sophomores Charles Ryan and Caleb Moscat, and junior Elijah Mann – received $275 for their performance. 

Prior to the event, Mr. Castagna and Mr. Haupt interviewed Lads of Kayös, the Bassments, and Pitchblende on The Spartan Life podcast. The interviews are available to stream on Anchor.fm, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and many other podcast platforms.