This year’s Battle of the Bands premiered as it’s never been seen before. After a series of growing pains, what used to be called “Homecoming” and student pageants has been replaced with Pilot Olympics and its closing ceremony (or jam session), also known as Battle of the Bands. Dr. Eric Oglesbee oversaw the events and brainstormed much of the details along with the help of underclass StuCo officers. “I spent a while thinking about how we could reinvent the pageant into something students would want to attend and/or participate in,” explained Oglesbee. “As it turned out…pageants are dead.” In fact, the week following Battle of the Bands, StuCo passed a motion to indefinitely suspend running the Pilot Pageant. A new tradition has begun, and it’s called Battle of the Bands. Kicking off the show in style this February 18 was Student Council President, Rosten Hamman along with a couple others who revolutionized Bethel’s very own alma mater. Bethel graduate Andy Fuller hosted the evening in true Ryan Seacrest form, and the adoring public filed in Everest Rohrer for the night’s performance. The evening was filled with musical talents from students, faculty, staff, and more. Four out of the five bands that auditioned made the cut based on such criteria as talent, stage presence, preparedness and the “it” factor. Each band performed one cover song and one original, and genres ranged from contemporary Christian to Punk/Rock. Release II began the evening’s competition, followed by Scout and the Finches, Trash the Dress and Dukes of Argyll. Sitting on the judges panel were sophomore student council rep. Hope Swanson, Professor John Haas, and David Banga, director of worship and outreach at South Bend Christian Reformed Church. This church allows Subkirke to use its building as a musical venue for nationally touring bands in independent labels. After each performance, the judges offered their critiques and praises with a dash of humor. Audience members voted for their favorite band via text messaging, and they were able to vote multiple times. “I think it worked pretty well,” shared judge Swanson. “I’m not a fan of the applause voting method, and we didn’t have time to do ballots.” Scout and the Finches received first place, followed by Dukes of Argyll, Trash the Dress and Release II. Seniors Jess Smith, Lindsey Tschetter, and Karen Dickerson composed the wining trio. They have the opportunity to open for Frontier Ruckus this March 31 at Subkirke and will receive $150 from the gig. Second place won tickets to all Subkirke concerts for the remaining semester as well as $80 to Guitar Center. Third place received $50 to Buffalo Wild Wings and fourth place received $25 dollars to Starbucks. All places also received a small crystal trophy. “We were shocked when we won,” shared Scout and the Finches. “And immediately sobered once we realized we’re going to have to pretend to be a real band again.” The three band members feel graced to share a friendship in which their harmony also expresses itself in music. Although they don’t know any details about the requirements for their upcoming Subkirke debut, Scout and the Finches shared that fans can look forward to more creative hand-percussion. Other performances for the evening included side-acts from Dr. Mihut, Bethel graduate and former chapel pianist Todd Mclaughlin and judge Swanson.