Up-and-comers in the Central New York music scene will compete for prizes as well as the coveted title of “Best Band” this weekend, and they’ll support a good cause at the same time.
The following musical acts will compete in Stand Against Suicide’s Battle of the Bands starting at noon Saturday, April 20, at SRC Arena;
Stone Soul Foundation
Far From Over
Glass Skeleton Death March
After the Clearing
Mike Brandisi & The New York Rock
Headliners are hip hop artists Lost Cause.
Stand Against Suicide will host its inaugural Battle of the Bands on Saturday, April 20, at the SRC Arena at Onondaga Community College. Doors open at 11 a.m. and bands begin competing at noon. Tickets are $7 for students and $12 for adults. Eighteen bands will compete for a chance at the title as well as prizes.
“The first place band wins $1000 cash. It is important to know that this money does not come from donors but from businesses that have chosen to sponsor our event,” said SAS President Tara Dennee, who founded the Elbridge-based organization in 2011. “Kinney Drugs Foundation, J&B Installation, Biographix Tattoo Studio and Paul Landers are among the sponsors of this prize. Second place band will receive four hours of studio recording time from DRM Studios. Third place will receive a complete band photoshoot from Anderton Photography. Fourth place will receive a music video production by EM Video Productions. All of these prizes were also generously donated by our supporters.”
Dennee, who lost her father to suicide in 2008, founded SAS to raise awareness about the risks of mental illness and to encourage those in need to get help. The organization offers peer-based support groups every Tuesday for those suffering from suicide-related loss and mental illness, as well as memory baskets to families who’ve lost a loved one to suicide. SAS also distributes awareness literature and materials and hosts a website, standagainstsuicide.org. Events like the Battle of the Bands provide a unique opportunity to spread the organization’s message.
“We are always looking for ways to attract all different types of people to our events, and Battle of the Bands seemed like a perfect way to accomplish this,” Dennee said. “Mental disorders don’t discriminate so it is important that we reach out to as many different people as possible.”
In addition to the music, the event will feature speakers discussing the seriousness of mental illness and facts relating to suicide. Dennee said she hopes the money raised will help fund the launching of a community outreach program for the organization.
“The Community Outreach Program is designed to target young children, teens, and young adults. Our focus is to educate parents and children the various mental disorders that could cause a suicide, the warning signs, the possible treatments, and most importantly, that no person should ever be ashamed to live with a mental disorder or to receive the appropriate treatments,” Dennee said. “The initiative would consist of visiting schools, colleges, and hosting special events to present child appropriate educational information and materials to children and parents. Our hopes are to educate parents and children early on to promote a healthy mental state and to identify any disorders that may exist.”
If that’s not enough of a draw, don’t forget the incredible talent that will take the stage. Eighteen bands (see sidebar for groups), all of whom were chosen by three judges at auditions of more than 30 musical acts in January, will provide entertainment. Each band will have a glass fish bowl labeled with its name; $1 buys one vote. The band with the most votes in its fish bowl wins.
Dennee said the SRC Arena is an ideal location for the event.
“We are always striving to put on the best events without a crazy budget — the less we spend, the more programs we are able to offer,” she said. “The SRC Arena is the perfect venue. We have superior sound quality for the bands, enough space to hold many patrons, and a central location for people all over New York.”
SAS has a vibrant social media presence, with more than 4,600 “likes” on Facebook. Dennee has also set up virtual support groups that provide aid to people all over the world through the site. But she said she’s really looking to ramp up support for the organization through this event.
“There is something for everyone at this event,” Dennee said. “We have many genres of bands competing. We would love to see some new faces so we can show everyone what Stand Against Suicide is all about.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.