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Students organize Battle of the Bands charity fundraiser

Written by Stina Chang

A “Battle of the Bands Competition” will take place at Palo Alto High School’s (Paly) Haymarket theater on Fri. March 27 at 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club of Palo Alto (BGCPA) as well as the Boys and Girls Club of Redwood City (BGCRC), organizations that offer homework help and arts-based after school programs to children from low-income families.

The BGC first introduced their music and art program several years ago and enlisted Gunn senior Alex Matthys as one of their first drumming instructors. “[The club] is basically their second home,” he said.

According to Matthys, 50 percent of the kids attending the club struggle to graduate high school, only 25 percent are accepted into two-year college and fewer than 25 percent are accepted into universities. “We try to [support] them and give them a boost which they don’t have at home,” Matthys said.

Because the club focuses on providing inexpensive support and structure, volunteers are very important to the club. “They basically run off of volunteers,” Gunn sophomore Riya Goel said.

Inspired by the club’s mission, Matthys has been a dedicated volunteer since his freshman year. He and Goel are two of twelve organizers of the BGC’s first Battle of the Bands.

The concert will feature live acts by Matthys’ own band Titanium as well as Paper Islands, Koitus, School of Rock Palo Alto and other local bands. “This event is a great way to listen to good live music, and possibly even see some fellow classmates play,” Paly junior and fellow organizer Reid Walters said.

The battle’s winning band will receive a gift card for Gelb’s Music Store, and audience members can submit their entrance tickets to a raffle, which is also sponsored by the BGC. The event’s emcee, Gunn Student Body President senior Aren Raisinghani, will be raffling off gift cards to Chipotle, Starbucks, and other stores, “just to make it fun for the audiences,” Matthys said.

In turn, all proceeds from the concert will go toward the club’s music and art program. Attendants have the option of buying a $5 entry ticket or donating art supplies at the door for a $2 discount.

According to Matthys, the BGC’s music program has been popular and positively impactful on children in the Palo Alto community. Matthys hopes that the fundraiser will expose more kids to the arts. “There’s a bunch of kids who want to learn music, but they don’t have the opportunity to, so this Battle of the Bands [will] raise money to expand the music programs,” he said.

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