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Harriton Represents at Battle of the Burbs

Caroline Fenlin, Staff Writer

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Suburbia: a word that, for many American teenagers, is equivalent to being tethered to a cactus in the middle of a desert.

Despite all the comforts that are typically bound to the notion of suburbia, the misconception that the suburbs are void of culture, a sense of purpose and well— things to do—is certainly prevalent in the minds of many high-schoolers.

But on Friday, February the third, Philadelphia’s suburban youngsters found themselves creating a delightful ruckus at Ardmore’s MilkBoy Coffee, a local gem of a café tucked away on Lower Merion’s own Lancaster Avenue.

Front and center in the “stuffed-to-the-gills” coffee shop, local musicians and bands were given 10 minutes to impress a panel of celebrity judges as well as an audience of their peers, in hopes of claiming the title “Best Band of the Burbs”.

Flashbulbs burst, guitars wailed, voices soared and the crowd got rowdy, with one young man even attempting to crowd surf, only to be quickly escorted from the premises.

It was a night to be remembered. Co-produced by the Youth Advisory Council (YAC) of the Coalition for Youth of Lower Merion and Narberth, The Battle of the Burbs was a successful effort for a fourth time around, showcasing eight groups and soloists qualifying for the final performance, as well as helping to support Girls Rock Philly, a local charity.

The YAC Battle of the Burbs team helped organize the event and comprised 30 representatives from over eight Main Line public and private schools, with the members of the bands themselves representing several more.

But it was the young musicians of Harriton, (as well as a handful from our sister school, Lower Merion) who proved themselves to be forces to be reckoned with. Three of the eight acts were almost entirely made up of Harriton students. Shout outs are as follows:

Bethany Katz, Gabby Schwab and Jack Fenton all served as members of the YAC Battle of the Burbs team, donning snazzy tee shirts designed by Welsh Valley’s beloved teacher and established artist, Todd Marrone.

The infamous Writer’s Block (going strong for well over four years now), with seniors Jake Ohlbaum (guitar, vocals), Zak Kivitz (drums), and Jeremy Levick (bass, vocals); freshman Ben Appel (keyboard, vocals); and Lower Merion’s Nick Paprocki (guitar), gave an outstanding performance, including a crowd pleasing rendition of MGMT’s Kids.

A newer band to the Harriton music scene is Inside the Velvet, a five-piece indie-rock outfit had Seth Silverman on keyboard and vocals, Charlie Akerblom on guitar and vocals, Tristan Fogt on guitar and synthesizer, Jared Johnson on bass and Dylan Pearl on drums.

Both Dylan Pearl (Inside the Velvet) and Jeremy Levick (Writer’s Block) were additionally part of an extra special act, along with Jordan Rosenthal-Kay on guitar and an interesting brass lineup of Jake Marks on sax, Ilias Storti on trombone, and Matt Brown on trumpet.
These Harriton fellows were also joined by St. Joe’s Prep’s Christian Turzo-Egan on drums. Calling themselves Poor Fred Noonan, the group blew the crowd away with their ska-inspired chops, performing in wild headgear last out of the eight bands.

At the night’s end, the judges were left to make the difficult call of who should be crowned with the title of the Best Band of the Burbs, and receive the first place prize of studio recording time with MilkBoy the Studio.

The decision was made, and with much anticipation, Harriton’s own Poor Fred Noonan was declared the winner. The newly formed band plans to record several covers and perhaps even an original with their studio time. They are also the proud recipients of a set of flyers ticket.
Many thanks go out to the sponsors, each of the contestants, the judges, and the YAC for their stupendous efforts in making the Battle of the Burbs such a successful event. If you were there, you know just how thrilling this battle was. But if not, we hope to see you there the next time around.

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The School Newspaper of Harriton High School
Harriton Represents at Battle of the Burbs