Teenagers throughout Kenmore showed that they were indeed ready to rock when they attended Mountstock. Six bands competed at Mount St. Mary Academy's ninth annual battle of the bands competition on Oct. 1. The winning band, Identical Difference, took home a $200 gift certificate to Guitar Center.
The four-piece band, consisting of sisters Skyler and Taylor Bogdan, with their friends Dominic Imperi and Joe D'Ingillo, played a half-hour set consisting of pop punk covers by the likes of Green Day and Bowling for Soup. Despite years of practice, this is the first official gig by the band.
"We threw the band together a couple weeks ago," said Skyler Bogdan, the band's drummer. "Prior to this me, Dominic and Joe were in a band together, but we didn't have a singer. We just kind of played for fun. We thought what better than to throw my younger sister into the mix. It just sounded so good and it felt so incredible."
Taylor, a freshman at the Mount, asked her sister and the guys to join her for Mountstock. She and Skyler performed as an acoustic duo last year, but felt she needed a full band. "I've been singing since I've been able to talk, and performed at a lot of different places like the Hard Rock Café, Ironworks and coffee shops. I sing whenever I get a chance to," she said, adding she will perform in the Mount St. Mary's musical, "Cinderella," this year.
They're not sure how they will spend their winnings, but do plan on staying together as a band.
"This gives a lot of faith. We just won our first show together. If it's the first, it will definitely be the first of many," said Taylor.
Mount St. Mary's student council has been producing the Mountstock concerts as a fundraiser for the school, and also to bring teens from the area together for an evening of entertainment.
"We do it to give (bands) a little exposure. For kids in high school, we give them a place to have fun with their friends, a night out, but in a controlled setting; not too crazy, but with enough freedom to have fun," explained Meighan Murphy, student council president. "A lot of the people here, I don't think, would be friends without it. You come here and you meet people from everywhere. I'm an athlete. I'm not musically inclined. So, normally I wouldn't be in a place like this. I wouldn't have heard of a lot of these bands if it wasn't for this. I made a lot of friends through it."
Planning begins in the summer when the school puts out ads looking for bands. The only rule is each band must have at least one high school student as a member. This year all bands came from the Mount or nearby St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute. Committees for security, concessions and tickets handle those tasks, while all members of the student council help with flyers and making the official tie-dyed T-shirts.
For the performers, rock and roll is serious business. John Marciniak, 18, is currently studying audio and radio production at SUNY Fredonia, with hopes of becoming a performer or producer. He has been playing music ever since he saw "School of Rock" in fifth grade. "It inspired me," he recalled. "I said, 'Dad, I want to play guitar.' So, I started learning guitar, and along the way I started learning to play more instruments, like piano and bass and drums. Now we started this whole musical thing that we do now."
He, his younger brother and a couple friends performed as the Pepperoni Boys playing the classic tunes of the Beatles, Ramones and Rolling Stones.
"It's a good atmosphere. It's a fun time. Lots of good food and good friends. That's basically why we came," he said.
Mountstock was the first performance by Lake Paradigm consisting of four students from the Mount. Freshman Claire Bressette described being on stage as "very nerve-racking, but it was also really fun, because the crowd was shouting at us and making us feel really good. I felt a lot less nervous when I saw all of them."
At just 14 years old, she has learned to play six instruments. With the band she's on guitar, ukulele and vocals.
"I would like to be a performer, but if that doesn't work out, I would like to be a music therapist. I want to go into hospitals and play music for sick kids," she said.