On Friday, Jan. 25, Bethel held its annual “Battle of the Bands” event. Four bands competed ,and they all received great reactions from the crowd, that almost filled up the Everest-Rohrer to chapel-like capacity. The four bands that played this year were “Da Session”, “Maestro and Bravo”, “Interstate Traffic”, and “Silver Lining”. The event was emceed by professors Cristian MiHut and Eric Oglesbee. Although there was audience voting via text message, there were also three “official” judges: Dr. John Haas, student and chapel band guitarist Jesse Maurer, and an organizer for The Subkirke music venue at the South Bend Christian Reformed Church, who sponsored the event. The winner of the event was actually awarded a paid opening act spot at the Subkirke music venue for sometime in the future. The awards for “Overall Winner”,“Best Original Song”, and “Audience Choice” were all given to “Maestro and Bravo”. “Interstate Traffic” took second, “Silver Lining” took third, and “Da Session” took fourth. However, the votes were very close, and every band was loved by the audience this year. “I was impressed with the level of talent (on Friday),” said Freshman audience member Chelsea Anglin. “It was so cool to see so many different people with opposing tastes coming up with new music.” "Maestro and Bravo was my favorite band", said Freshman Casey Stump. "Matt (Gillin) has such a unique voice and the great ability to play lead guitar while singing ... I would have loved some more violin but Elaina (Gillin's) voice was great and matched Matt's really well." Stump also had another favorite. "(Interstate Traffic) was a close second for me ... I loved their sound and how they used only three guys to be pretty creative." The first band up was “Da Session”, a freestyle rap group consisting of multiple students on acoustic instruments, along with Professors Theo and Tim Williams (a.k.a. YSG), and Theo’s wife Nicole Williams on vocals. Each band performed two songs—one cover and one original song. For a freestyle rap group, it can be difficult to do covers, so they did something other than rap for their first song, with Nicole Williams singing what Maurer described as a “stunning” rendition of “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele. Their second song was an original rap, and was the only original song not to have lyrics in the Battle pamphlet, likely because there were too many lyrics to fit on the page. They received a fantastic reaction from the crowd, and that would become a theme throughout the night. The eventual winners, “Maestro and Bravo”, comprised of brother and sister Matt and Elaina Gillin, were up next. Matt was on acoustic guitar and vocals, while Elaina was on violin and vocals. They performed a cover of “Lost in my Mind” by “The Head and the Heart”, which soothed the crowd while also making them burst out into applause afterwards. The same thing happened after their original song “Winter Coat”, as they ended their set with a standing ovation and nothing but praise from the judges’ panel. In between sets, there was another “band”, led by Religion and Philosophy professor Cristian Mihut, called “The MiHutz”. This was the highlight of the event for many audience members, as a respected professor performed original silly songs such as “Hipster Paradise” (a parody of Weird Al Yancovic’s “Amish Paradise”, which is itself a parody of Coolio’s “Gangster Paradise”). He also performed a song about coffee (“Caffeine”), and a short song about mythical hero Theseus. Next up was “Interstate Traffic”, a hard-to-categorize indie-rock trio slightly reminiscent of fun. They performed a cover of The Antler’s “Putting the Dog to Sleep”, a slow-building, multi-layered song. The trio’s original song “You and Me” eschewed traditional song structure and silenced the audience with its creativity. They got a great applause after their set just as the last two bands did. Closing out the night was “Silver Lining”, a mostly acoustic, except for an electric violin, quintet made up of friends from all different cultures. They closed out the night with smooth tones and fun melodies from their original song "The Other Side". They also received a great reaction from judges and the crowd. More photos to come soon.