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Newdegate Machinery Field Days’ first Battle of the Bands competition showcases musical talent

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
Bunbury Cathedral Grammar Year 12 student Jordan Lanagan, Newdegate Machinery Field Days Battle of the Bands coordinator Holly McDonald, and Albany Senior High School Year 11 student Dylan Bignell.
Camera IconBunbury Cathedral Grammar Year 12 student Jordan Lanagan, Newdegate Machinery Field Days Battle of the Bands coordinator Holly McDonald, and Albany Senior High School Year 11 student Dylan Bignell. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman

The Newdegate Machinery Field Days’ first Battle of the Bands competition has been deemed a huge success, with just one small problem — the students’ talent was just too good to pick a winner.

Students from Albany Senior High School and Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School played their hearts out on an impressive stage donated by Esperance Freight Lines.

They battled it out for more than two hours in front of event patrons seated outside in the food court area near the Family Interest Display Pavilion.

Judges had such a hard time choosing which of the two schools should win the inaugural competition they felt they had no choice but to crown both the winner.

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High school students from across the Great Southern were invited to perform between 12.30pm and 3pm on the first day of this year’s event, Wednesday, September 7.

The event was sponsored by Moylan Grain Silos and Lake Grace pub band Bale Out lent their sound equipment to the students to use, including microphones, drums and bass amplifiers.

This saved students from having to haul an entire busload of gear to the Field Days.

The event was judged by Battle of the Bands coordinator Holly McDonald, Bale Out band members Harry Slarke, Alistair Hunt and Gary Prater, and Triple M announcer Troy Stockden.

News the event had been called a draw was met with cheers and boos from the students, some of whom were desperate to beat the other school after all their hard work.

Ahead of announcing the winner, Ms McDonald said she was incredibly proud of the students that had travelled the 350km from Bunbury and 275km from Albany to perform.

“I am so proud of the students that performed today; the students were super impressive,” she said.

“Judging was so hard because they were completely different bands, but both so amazing.

“Both schools were different in their music genres.”

Ms McDonald said there had been a full brass band from Bunbury Grammar and a rock band from Albany Senior High School, whose songs included hits from Australian rock band Sticky Fingers.

“We wanted to bring a bit of musical talent here and give them a stage to perform on,” she said.

“There is a lot of talent in the country and it is important to showcase it.

“We didn’t want to do a draw but they were all so good that we just couldn’t choose.”

Bunbury Cathedral Grammar Year 12 student Jordan Lanagan, 18, played baritone saxophone at the competition.

The group brought 20 students from the school’s senior band and two teachers to the Field Day to perform 10 songs, with most the “blockbuster type” including the Star Wars theme song and YMCA.

He said the selection was “a bit chaotic” but the school’s music program was “quite good”, with students allowed to choose an instrument in Year 6 before deciding whether to carry on.

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