On Wednesday 3rd May 2023, Clifton Community School held its annual Battle of the Bands event, which saw students from secondary schools across Rotherham compete for the trophy.
It was an amazing evening and this year’s event brought in the highest standard of finalists ever!
The judges – David Burgess (Head of Music at Rotherham College), Sarah Potts (professional saxophonist), Toby Smith (Head of Rotherham Music Service) and Janine Miller (ex-music teacher and multi-instrumentalist) – had many difficult decisions to make.
The evening started with Group A (Intermediate), with the finalists including:
- Gazi Band (Clifton Community School)
- Unconfirmed (Oakwood High School)
- Not So Big Band (Wales High School)
- Banned Soul (Clifton Community School)
- Beautiful Carrot (Wickersley School & Sports College)
They presented an eclectic range of genres, and the audience and judges were thoroughly impressed.
The judges commented that Clifton’s Gazi Band was ‘by far the coolest looking band’ in the building, with Banned Soul (the youngest participants in the competition) showing their impeccable sense of timing and their enthusiasm.
Oakwood’s Unconfirmed featured three singers who’s harmonies truly wowed the audience.
Wales High School’s ‘Not So Big Band’ took the win for this group and Beautiful Carrot (WSSC) took the Runner Up spot.
The night progressed onto Group B (Advanced) which really was a tough competition. The finalists for this category were:
- Raw Honey (Oakwood High School)
- The Leavers (Clifton Community School)
- Day Dreamers (Rawmarsh Community School)
- Orchidelia (Wales High School)
- Unnamed (Thrybergh Academy)
- Tivolis (Wickersley School & Sports College)
Rawmarsh’s ‘Day Dreamers’ opened the second half of the show and really set the bar for the rest of the evening.
Clifton’s The Leavers gave a soulful performance of Etta James’ classic ‘I Would Rather Go Blind’, with the judges recognising the power and emotion behind the vocals in this song.
Orchedelia presented another contrast to the show, playing original songs they’d worked on as a band.
The Unnamed (Thrybergh Academy) brought a lot of energy to the stage, and Wickersley’s Tivolis gave a very professional performance.
This was the second time Oakwood’s Raw Honey had qualified for the final; and the experience really showed.
The judges debated over who would be crowned the winners as our special guests ‘Malibu’ from Rotherham College performed.
After a huge amount of deliberation, the audience and bands were thrilled as The Leavers (CCS) took 2nd place and Wickersley’s experienced performers (Tivolis) took the win for this group – they were amazing.
Jessica Smales, Music Teacher at Clifton Community School, said: “The next generation of the music industry in Rotherham is clearly outstandingly strong!
“All of the students from all schools conducted themselves like real musicians and were a real credit to themselves. All of the students really supported each other and were proud of their performances.
“An additional thank you to the support from Rotherham College, with the support of some of their Music Performance and Music Technology students in the set up of the event.
“Myself and the Music Team are looking forward to what next year’s competition will bring.”