“It’s important to try to augment county funding with private, community-based funding as well,” he said. “I thought a battle of the bands would be a great way to get adults and children together to showcase their talents in a friendly competition where the goal was raising money for a good cause and having fun.”
When the council decided to act on Denenberg’s suggestion, Manzo looked to two community members who were connected to the local music scene for help: Steve Eplan, co-owner of The Rock Underground music shop and school in Bellmore, and Richard Gilley, music director at Merrick Avenue Middle School.
Eplan said he was more than happy to co-sponsor and run the battle of the bands. He felt the event benefitted a worthy cause and will provide musicians with the opportunity to perform locally, which he said isn’t always available for younger artists.
“I just love the fact that we’re giving a bunch of kids the chance to play,” he said. “I know how talented some of these kids are, but people don’t necessarily know that.”
Eleven bands will take to the Brookside stage next week, Eplan said, after they submitted samples of their work and their websites to Eplan.
Eplan reached out to groups that he has worked with in the past that play locally in Nassau County, Still Life and Signal For Pilot, to play at the show. But he explained that the majority of performers at the battle of the bands will be current or former students of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District.
Battle of the bands winners will receive gift baskets from another event sponsor, White Castle. Eplan said that the organizers are grateful for prize contributions, in addition to monetary donations to the cause.
Gilley, who has performed in several rock bands on Long Island and in New England in addition to teaching music, will serve as a judge. He was able to secure Chris Tibaldi, a Berklee College of Music graduate and owner and operator of the East Coast Drum School, and Eddie Trayer, vice president of Eastern Stage Productions, to join him on the panel.