Battle of the Bands returns to USU for Year of the Arts


For the first time in 10 years Utah State University held a Battle of the Bands competition in honor of Arts Week and Year of the Arts.

Five bands competed in Battle of the Bands, which included: The band VERA, Mountains and Molehills, The Gatherers, Summer Bloom, and Praise the Strange, in order of when they performed.

The band VERA won, with a voting system evaluated on 50 percent of the popular vote and 50 percent based on the judges scores.

The audience voted by going to a link using their phones and selected which band they thought should win.

Kyle Todecheene | The Utah Statesman

Dr. Tim Chenette, a Music Theory professor of the Caine College of the Arts, was one of the judges, along with Meghan Tatom, the activities director of USUSA, and Spencer Bitner, the associate director of the TSC.

Dr. Chenette said the scorecard rubric was based on musicality, technical skill, stage presence and overall performance. Coming from an academic standpoint, Dr. Chenette said he judged the craft of their solos, high points, builds, chords, sounds, and most importantly the voice.

Dr. Chenette said he didn’t know the other judges’ scores.

“I know in my scoring there was a range (of scores), but there were a couple of bands at the top, definitely.” Dr. Chenette said.

Sierra Wise, the academic senator for the Caine College of the Arts, has been planning Arts Week since November of last semester. Wise has been working hard to oversee all the events scheduled, including karaoke in the café, Battle of the Bands, college networking night and the masquerade ball.

Wise was elected as the academic senator last spring by the student body to work with the Arts Council, both to roll forward USUSA initiatives in the arts college as well as program events like Arts Week.

Kyle Todecheene

Wise said double the number of bands had signed up to compete, more than they were able to take in to the event. Auditions were held beforehand in November.

The PR and marketing department of USUSA helped market the event, and the student event office made sure the technical staff had everything they needed to pull off the event.

“Really, it was a team effort all around,” Wise said.

The band VERA won the chance to play at the End of the Year Bash, and won a $100 gift card donated by KSM Music.

Justice Ferguson, the drummer, said they aren’t sure what they’ll do with the prize money, but there was a possibility of using it to record an album or an EP.

“It feels really good (to win) because we play our own, original music,” said Aaron Vera, the lead singer of the band VERA, “It’s a big validation for all of the hard work we’ve done.”

Kyle Todecheene | The Utah Statesman

The band VERA started playing together a year ago, and have only played in front of a crowd of 250 people once before. 250 students attended the Battle of the Bands. 

Drew Rogers, the guitarist, just started playing with The Band Vera one week prior to the event. Rogers is a graduate student in music, and just moved here from Arkansas.

“The music scene here is a lot better than I thought it would be,” Rogers said, “I was worried I wasn’t going to fit in.”

Vera said they have more original music and are learning more new stuff for the upcoming End of the Year Bash.

“I am continually blown away by the amount of talent at Utah State,” Wise said, “I know that the band VERA and all the bands who participated, have fulfilling and successful futures ahead of them.”