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Kingston pep band battling for $10,000

The Kingston High Marching Band celebrates homecoming last October. - Brad Camp/File Photo
The Kingston High Marching Band celebrates homecoming last October.
— image credit: Brad Camp/File Photo

KINGSTON — The Kingston High School pep band has a $10,000 prize on its radar.

Last October, the band submitted video and audio recordings of its rendition of Golden Earring’s classic rock song, “Radar Love,” to a contest sponsored by Seattle radio station KZOK and The Rock, Wood Fired Pizza restaurants. On Monday, the 33-band contest opened to public voting to narrow the field to 10 finalists. The top prize is $10,000 and the second-place finisher will receive $5,000.

Kingston High Music Director Adam Campagna said the money would do a lot of good for his band, but there are additional reasons for entering the contest.

“Part of it was just about exposing the kids to the idea of doing the recording and submitting the recording. And just to get Kingston’s name out there,” he said. “And the money doesn’t hurt either, especially as a music program.”

To cast a vote for one of the bands, voters can send a text message to the contest’s headquarters. On Feb. 2, the public voting will close and the top 10 vote-getters will move on to the finals, where a panel of judges will select the winners based on how well the bands execute their songs.

Campagna and drum major Claire Polson said the Kingston band chose “Radar Love” because it was a catchy song the students enjoyed and was not overplayed in the contest’s past.

“It’s easy to groove to,” Polson said.

Many of the bands in the running put a lot of time and special effects into their video entries. The Kingston band chose to focus most of its energy on the audio recording.

“Having a good video is really important, but ultimately the sound of the music is No. 1,” Polson said.

Polson described the video as one that shows a bit of the band’s goofy side.

“We’re just being like the typical band person,” she said.

The musicians spent two evenings after school filming the video of themselves marching around campus, playing in hallways, libraries and bathrooms. They also took two nights to perfect the audio recording. Bands with eye-catching videos have a better chance of getting to the finals, but the Kingston students hope the quality of their sound gives them an edge.

“I wanted the video to showcase the kids having a good time and doing what we do,” Campagna said. “I think that our kids did a good job. The video is fun and entertaining, but the music is good.”

To further promote its song, the Kingston band went to KZOK’s Seattle studio Dec. 1 to perform on-air.

“The kids had a cool experience there,” Campagna said.

The musicians now hope they can get enough votes to propel them into the finals. Campagna said if they do end up winning, he would like to use the prize money for practical purposes like bringing in a guest instructor or building the school’s music library.

“There’s always needs, especially at a new school,” he said.

To vote for the Kingston High School Pep Band in The Rock, Wood Fired Pizza’s School of The Rock — Battle of the Bands, text ROCK 10 to 24300. There is a limit of 10 text votes per day, per phone. See the band’s video at http://therockwfp.com.

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