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The Cuddlefish win 2016 JCC Battle of the Bands

Bob Staffa (far right), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, introduces 2016 Battle of the Bands winner The Cuddlefish from Onondaga High School before the start of their set. Pictured from left are three of the band's members Ryan Cass, keyboard; Noah Dardaris, drums; and Garrit Peck, bass guitar.
The Cuddlefish kick off their Battle of the Bands set. Pictured, from left, is Ryan Cass, keyboard; Noah Dardaris, drums; Joe Russo, trombone; Garrit Peck, bass guitar; and Max Marcy, lead guitar.
The Cuddlefish • Onondaga High School • 2016 JCC Battle of the Bands
The Cuddlefish • Onondaga High School • 2016 JCC Battle of the Bands
Pictured from left is the JCC's Mick Hagan, director of Children and Teen Services, awarding the $200 cash prize to the 2016 Battle of the Bands winner The Cuddlefish.
Pictured from left is the JCC's Mick Hagan, director of Children and Teen Services, along with The Cuddlefish's members Ryan Cass, keyboard; Max Marcy, lead guitar; Joe Russo, trombone; Noah Dardaris, drums; and Garrit Peck, bass guitar.
Kicking off the 14th annual JCC high school Battle of the Bands is the JCC's Mick Hagan (far right), director of Children and Teen Services, and Bob Staffa (far left), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, while the band Sun from Baldwinsville waits to play.
Sun from Baldwinsville gets their set going. Pictured from left is David Millen, bass; Kyle Micho, guitar; Nate Piazza, drums; and Molly Conway, vocals.
Sun • Baldwinsville High School • 2016 JCC Battle of the Bands
Sun • Baldwinsville High School • 2016 JCC Battle of the Bands
Bob Staffa (second from left), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, introduces the band Posted from Marcellus High School, the second band to play.
Pictured from left is Posted's Sam Hayduke, drums, and Dan Wrona, guitar.
Rockin' out is Posted from Marcellus. Pictured from left is Dan Wrona, guitar; Nate Murphy, lead vocals; Josh Winoski, the bands other drummer; and Riley Burns, bass.
Posted • Marcellus High School • 2016 JCC Battle of the Bands
Bob Staffa (second from right), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, introduces the third band that played, Decent from Lafayette Junior-Senior High School.
Decent kicks off their set with a burst of Green Day. Pictured from left is Kailyn Leach, bass and vocals; Grady Collingbourne, drums; and James Baker, lead guitar and vocals.
Decent • Lafayette Junior-Senior High School • 2016 JCC Battle of the Bands
Decent • Lafayette Junior-Senior High School • 2016 JCC Battle of the Bands
Bob Staffa (second from left), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, introduces the fourth band that played, Theory 1 from Fayetteville-Manlius High School. The band's members are (L-R) Jacob Bloom, keyboard and guitar; Lexie Thomas, guitar and keyboard; Jacob Leichtling, drums; Elizabeth McCrohan, lead vocals; Matt Meidenbauer, guitar; Anna Muench, bass; and Estelita Chen, flute.
Guitar solo by Lexie Thomas of Theory 1.
Theory 1 • Fayetteville-Manlius High School • 2016 JCC Battle of the Bands
Theory 1 jamming it out during their set. Pictured from left is Matt Meidenbauer, Estelita Chen and Anna Muench.
Bob Staffa (second from right), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, introduces Cosmic Pineapple from Christian Brothers Academy and Jamesville-DeWitt High Schools.
Cosmic Pineapple rocks out during their set. Pictured from left is Sebastian Escribano, lead guitar; David Petrela, drums; and Caleb Fox-Lee, bass guitar and lead vocals.
Cosmic Pineapple • Christian Brothers Academy, Jamesville-DeWitt • 2016 JCC Battle of the Bands
Cosmic Pineapple • Christian Brothers Academy, Jamesville-DeWitt • 2016 JCC Battle of the Bands
Bob Staffa (second from right), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, introduces the band 5 Head from Henninger, Cazenovia, Jamesville-DeWitt High Schools.
L-R: 5 Head's Alec Boone, guitar; Jacob Devine, cello; William Woodrow, drums; J.J. Shanahan, lead vocals; Joe Moore (not visible), bass; and Mitchell Smith, guitar.
L-R: 5 Head's Alec Boone, Joe Moore, Mitchell Smith and J.J. Shanahan.
L-R: 5 Head's J.J. Shanahan and Mitchell Smith.
Bob Staffa (second from right), 95X radio disc jockey and the evening's emcee, introduces the eighth band Vivid Recall from Christian Brothers Academy, Faith Heritage and Liverpool High Schools.
Pictured from left is Vivid Recall's Dan Moser, lead guitar; Jack Murphy, drums; Stephen Phillips, lead vocals and keyboard; and Peter Gnade, bass.
Pictured from left is Vivid Recall's Colin Heaney, guitar; Dan Moser, lead guitar; Jack Murphy, drums; and Stephen Phillips, lead vocals and keyboard.
Dan Moser, lead guitar, and Stephen Phillips, lead vocals and keyboard, of Vivid Recall from Christian Brothers Academy, Faith Heritage and Liverpool High Schools.

Content

January 22, 2016

Eight bands rocked the 14th annual JCC high school Battle of the Bands for four hours on Saturday night, Jan. 16 at the Sam Pomeranz Jewish Community Center of Syracuse. The many young, talented musicians in this year’s concert played a rainbow of sounds and musical styles before a crowd of 350 in the JCC Neulander Family Sports & Fitness Center’s Schayes Family Gymnasium. And they did not disappoint. In the end, alternative ska band The Cuddlefish from Onondaga High School walked away the winner.

“We put on another great Battle of the Bands show,” said Mick Hagan, JCC’s director of Children and Teen Services. “More bands this year meant more music to the delight of the audience. We had such an awesome group of young artists play again this year. Many thanks go out to the bands, judges, event sponsors and everyone who came out for a rocking good time.”

In addition to bragging rights, The Cuddlefish received a $200 cash prize, a prize pack from Gorham Brothers Music, eight hours of studio time at More Sound Recording Studio and the opportunity to play in a special upcoming JCC 2016 Spring Showcase concert.

The Cuddlefish are a mostly alternative ska band who blend a lot of different musical styles—from punk rock to jazz to pop. They came in second place in last year’s JCC Battle of the Bands. That was their first gig together. This year they returned with the same lineup and were dressed just as sharply with their bright, colorful dress shirts and ties.

The five-piece band sounded tighter and more polished this year. They played their own original tunes "A Song For Jò," "Blind Man" and "Garrit's Song." Their set also included a few covers by other bands, closing with “Come and Get It” by Selena Gomez. They attribute this year’s success to experience.

“This year we got some more originals, and that really helped us out a lot,” said The Cuddlefish’s bassist and lead vocalist Garrit Peck. “We practice all the time. We’ve been playing out at places. We’ve grown as musicians, all of us individually, and being able to gel as a band that’s helped us more than anything.”

The Cuddlefish’s other band members are Ryan Cass, keyboard and vocals; Noah Dardaris, drums; Max Marcy, lead guitar; and Joe Russo, trombone. Marcy, Dardaris and Peck have been playing together for about four–five years. All five band mates are best friends and have known each other since they were little kids.

“Thanks to all the other bands that played—they’re phenomenal,” said Peck. “We met some great people tonight and I got to see some cool people that I haven’t seen in awhile that I actually knew from the other bands. And thanks to the JCC and the judges. You guys hold this thing every year and that takes a lot.”

The other bands that battled it out with The Cuddlefish this year were Sun from Baldwinsville; Posted from Marcellus; Decent from Lafayette; Theory 1 from Fayetteville-Manlius; Cosmic Pineapple from Christian Brothers Academy and Jamesville-DeWitt; 5 Head from Henninger, Cazenovia and Jamesville-DeWitt; and Vivid Recall from Christian Brothers Academy, Faith Heritage and Liverpool. Coming in second place was Cosmic Pineapple and tied for third was Posted and Vivid Recall.

The judges for this year’s Battle of the Bands were Ryan Gorham of Gorham Brothers Music, Syracuse; Katrina Tulloch, life and culture reporter for The Post-Standard; Bob Staffa (B.O.B), 95X radio personality; and Sean King and Erica Ylitalo from last year's winning band Casual Plaid. Staffa was also the event’s emcee again this year. For every high school student admission, the JCC donated $1 to his or her school district’s music department.

Battle of the Bands sponsors were Pepsi, More Sound Recording Studio of Syracuse and Gorham Brothers Music.

For more information about the JCC Battle of the Bands, contact Erin Hart at 315-445-2040, ext. 133, or ehart@jccsyr.org.

 

2016 JCC Battle of the Bands Preview
CNYCentral Weekend Today in CNY  |  Jan. 10, 2016

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