Relay For Life at Ferris is a time when students come together to raise money for cancer, but it often inspires a little bit of competition.
Five bands vied for victory at Friday night’s Battle of the Bands, a Relay For Life event hosted at The Gate. Travis Hodder, a junior in music industry management and the vice president of Colleges Against Cancer, was the main force in planning this year’s event.
“Battle of the Bands for Relay For Life came about two years ago when Dannah Lemieux came up with the idea to raise money for The American Cancer Society,” Hodder said. “Although we didn’t hold it last year, I decided to bring it back again since it’s a great way to raise a ton of money for a great cause while giving people something to do on a Friday night.”
The bands Hodder brought in represented a variety of genres – a coincidence, according to Hodder. Five groups performed: Hyper Lytics, The Balsam Brothers, Don’t Pull the Plug, Bridge the Gap and Haunt’s Tone.
The variety was not only in musical styles – country, pop punk, and metal – but also in hometowns. Don’t Pull the Plug and Hyper Lytics made the trek from Hemlock and Ortonville, respectively.
Brian Cross, a music industry management junior and a judge at the event, was quite pleased by the lineup.
“I believe the show went great,” Cross said. “We got a good spread of bands [from] around the Michigan area, so I enjoyed the diversity, and the bands played well.”
The crowd was dominated by fans of clamorous metal outfit Heart’s Bane, with thirty obviously familiar watchers fist pumping and headbanging for the band’s concert-closing set.
It was Ferris’ own Balsam Brothers who brought home the victory, with Rockford’s Bridge the Gap coming in a close second. Both bands will perform at Relay For Life.
The Balsam Brothers are four Ferris students: Nathan Babcock, Austin Benzing, Phil Hartley and Devin Anderson. The band formed late last year and is now working on original material.
Babcock, a senior in pre-nursing, was thrilled with the opportunity to play.
“Getting to do the battle of the bands for Relay For Life was a great opportunity to show our support for an amazing cause and we were so privileged to get to participate, let alone be chosen to play at the actual Relay For Life event,” Babcock said.
Hartley also shared his excitement about the opportunity.
“We want nothing more than to please the crowd and get things rowdy,” Hartley, a sophomore in physical therapy, said, “and I can promise you that is exactly what we intend to do at Relay For Life.
Hodder brought the idea to the activities and entertainment committee of Colleges Against Cancer, set up the event with the Gate, coordinated help from key students, contacted the bands and selected the judges. He was happy with the results.
“The show went awesome and more than exceeded my expectations,” Hodder said. “All of the bands were early for their sets, everything sounded great, the atmosphere was exciting, everyone seemed to have a fun night, and most importantly, we raised a ton of money for The American Cancer Society.”
Hodder and the Gate arranged a split for the money raised at the event. Cover for the event was ten dollars for minors and five for those 21 and up. The event raised $770, and half of the proceeds will go to Relay, along with a percentage of food sales.
Relay for Life kicks off on April 4 in Wink Arena at 6 p.m. and will conclude the following morning at 6 a.m.