One of the perks of winning the annual Battle of the Bands competition in Columbia is getting to share the success. As this year’s winner, Graffiti Out Loud picked a charity that will receive the proceeds of a benefit concert this week. The recipient will be the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
In addition to Graffiti Out Loud, the concert at The Blue Note will feature three other bands: Brunette, Habitat Crew and A Grand Escort.
Phil Overeem, a language arts teacher at Hickman High School and sponsor of the school’s music club, Academy of Rock, said the benefits started shortly after the Battle of the Bands began four years ago.
“Of the eight bands that participate in the Battle of the Bands, the top four are given a concert of their own by Richard King at The Blue Note,” Overeem said. “The band that wins the Battle of the Bands gets to name the charity.”
This year, the Muscular Dystrophy Association was not only the winning band’s charity of choice but was endorsed by all four bands. Jeremiah Lotven, Graffiti Out Loud’s bassist, said he has a friend with muscular dystrophy, with whom he attended West Junior High School.
“As soon as they told us that we’d be picking the charity, (donating to MDA) was being talked about and we went with it,” Lotven said. “We’ve known him for a long time and people from other bands know him, too.”
Past charity recipients have been VH1’s Save the Music program, KOPN/89.5 FM and the Voluntary Action Center.
“It’s something that the kids are really dedicated to doing,” Overeem said. “They’re just as excited about doing this show than actually winning Battle of the Bands.”