Havre Daily News
New acts combined with veterans of the Montana State University-Northern stage on Friday for the fourth annual Battle of the Bands. This year's theme was “Mullet Mayhem.”
Each of the three bands that competed on stage near MacKenzie Hall took home a prize. Francisco, a band composed of Havre High students Valley Lopez on drums, Gavin Swietnicki playing lead guitar, Steve Pierson on keyboards, Kaden Keto playing bass, and Jordan Lamphier on rhythm guitar, won the grand prize of $200. Identity Theft Crises, an acoustic project by Sheldon Corner, won $100 by taking second. Mike and the Danger Squad, the solo acoustic project of Mike McPeak, won the third-place prize of $50.
Lopez, an 18-year-old Havre High senior, plays in the Jazz, Symphonic and Pep bands at HHS and has been drumming for seven years. He said Francisco didn't exist until the Battle of the Bands.
“We just pulled this together,” Lopez said Friday before the show.
Swietnicki, 15, has played guitar for about four years. He's not a stranger to the stage, though.
“I did a talent show in North Carolina last year,” Swietnicki said.
Pierson, 17, began playing the keyboards almost three years ago, he said. He's never really played in a band before, he added.
Lamphier, 15, joined Francisco to play the rhythm guitar, which he started playing this year, he said. Normally he plays the drums, he added.
“I've played the drums since fifth grade,” Lamphier said.
Keto, 15, began playing bass three years ago. He also plays saxophone in the HHS band.
Corner, 30, participated in his fourth Battle of the Bands this year, but it was his first year going solo. Corner said he's been playing guitar for about 13 years. He has released four CDs and played in three bands prior to his acoustic project.
“I've played lots of shows, from here to Seattle,” he added.
McPeak, a 20-year-old Biology student at MSU-N, has played guitar for six years and also plays the piano. The competition was the Clarkson, Wash., native's MSU-N stage debut.
Norton Pease, art instructor at MSU-N, said the funds this year came from vice chancellor Chuck Jensen.