A Battle of the Bands concert on Friday night raised $671.70 for a local homeless shelter.
The concert at Edwards Auditorium was sponsored by Strike A Chord, URI Musicians Guild and the Kappa Delta sorority, and featured performances by EsmerÃ©e Skye, Hann Cassady, The Cranks and Peacewise.
The show’s results were determined through a “penny wars” system. Throughout the concert, the audience was encouraged to add their donations to drop-box tins at the front of the stage, each representing one of the performers. The proceeds from the event benefited the Westerly Area Rest Meals (WARM) Center, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen located in Westerly.
“Each penny counts for a vote and whoever has the most money at the end of the night wins the battle of the bands,” Strike A Chord president Nicholas Bottai, said.
“We all took a vote and decided we wanted to help the WARM shelter because it was a good cause and helped people who needed it most,” Strike A Chord member Connor WIlliams said.
“It’s an awesome organization down in Westerly that helps bring people who have recently become homeless,” Strike A Chord founder and former vice president Jordan Sereno said. “It helps them rehabilitate back into the workforce, getting them back on their feet with jobs, with housing, just finding ways to get food for their family.”
Strike A Chord was founded in 2010 and put together a one-time concert to benefit victims of the earthquake that affected Haiti earlier that year but eventually became a permanent organization.
The group organizes musical performances, such as concerts, jam sessions and open mic nights that benefit a charity that was selected by its members. The performers are also voted on by members.
“We like getting local bands that are from around the area, or bands from URI,” Bottai said. Â “We poll it and then we all vote in the organization on which bands. The top 10 bands we contact, and whoever gets back to us first gets the spot.”
The first act in the Battle of the Bands was EsmerÃ©e Skye, a local alternative pop singer-songwriter influenced by Fiona Apple. Skye said she was inspired by the show’s charity aspect.
“It’s always a goal of mine to strengthen my community, help people who are less comfortable and less fortunate,” Skye said. “It’s important to make sure you’re reaching out to people who need that. Some of my favorite musicians and people I respect most in my life are really involved in charity.”
Following Skye’s set was a performance by folk singer and URI student Hann Cassady. Cassady, who often performs at the 193 Degrees Coffeehouse, played nine songs including tracks from her three EPs.
Dunstable, Massachusetts-based indie rock trio The Cranks performed following a short delay. The band played a seven song set, including a cover of Weezer’s “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” and songs from their 2013 album “Orange”.
The final act was Peacewise, an alternative band from southern Rhode Island. The group performed a lengthy set, including tracks from their recently released album “Scatter Out to Sea”, which was available at the merchandise table outside the auditorium.
The final money tally for the performers was $14.71 for Hann Cassady, $30 for The Cranks, $37.57 for Esmeree Skye and $78.98 for Peacewise.
For having the most donations at the end of the night, Peacewise received a $75 gift card to Guitar Center. The prize was sponsored by the Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies.
Sereno said that the turnout for the show was phenomenal and one of the best for a Strike A Chord sponsored event.
The next local music concert, featuring Way Out, Meta James and The Atlantis Electric Company, is scheduled for Nov. 14. The free show is sponsored by the Musician’s Guild and will take place in Atrium II of the Memorial Union.