WMCX and Hawk Television hosted their third annual Rock n Raise fundraiser this past Friday, February 22. With 100 percent of the proceeds going towards Relay for Life, both organizations were able to raise $631 over the course of the day.
Rock n Raise is a battle of the bands style fundraiser where bands sign up and compete through ticket sales to raise the most money and take away predetermined prizes. The event featured four live bands and three acoustic acts, all of which were broadcasted live via Hawk TV and The X.
The Hawk TV studio, located in the back of Plangere, had two stages set up for performances and one smaller stage set up for interviews. All the stages were assembled and painted by members of Hawk TV. The entire crew consisted of around 50 students.
Vernoica Yurowski, executive producer for Rock n Raise has been working with a producing team and members of Hawk TV putting this event together since the summer time. She explained the early stages consisted of coming up with themes, creating the logo and eventually settling on one specific theme. “Overall I think today was really great,” Yurowski said, “We had a great crew turn out. Everyone pitched in and everyone worked together, we’re one big family down here, we all helped each other out and it was great.”
The event was hosted by communication majors Michael Udayakumar and Ashely Pacifico, both juniors at the University. Udayakumar explained the main job as a host, is to mentally prepare in order to have an idea of what you are going to say, without having to rely solely on the script. Information such as, what musicians belong to which bands, prizes for the competition and sponsors were all studied prior to show time. “My favorite part of the day,” Udayakumar said, “Was seeing the bands rock out in their natural environment and seeing the passion that they have for making and playing music.”
Anna Chamberlain, junior and floor manager, supervised the hosts, made sure the crew members were at their posts at their designated times and made sure the camera work in the lobby ran smoothly. “For the most part it went very well,” said Chamberlain. “My favorite part of the day was seeing everyone come out and watching the bands perform. It’s awesome that they got to come out and play for us and help raise money for relay.”
Aaron Goldner, entertainment producer, was in charge of booking the bands and acoustic acts. In addition to booking, he collected money from ticket sales, made sure all the acts were on time and ready to play in their allocated time slots. “What I liked about this year was that we had so many different styles of music. It was great to have that element of hip-hop too,” Goldner said. “Every act was totally different from one another and that’s what I was looking for when booking the bands.”
The event kicked off with Asbury Park locals, The Battery Electric taking the stage. The rock and roll trio has only been together for six months but you wouldn’t be able to tell based off their stage presence. They sing about women, whiskey and fighting for freedom according to their Facebook page and reinforced by their lyrics. “Here she comes walking in, with her hips, her glasses on; give a man a run for his money if he can’t turn her on,” drummer and vocalist Ron Santee sings in one of their songs titled Shock Hazard. The crew has a full length record coming out in March titled Weaving Spiders off of Little Dick Man Records, produced by Pete Steinkopf (The Bouncing Souls). The Battery Electric has an upcoming gig on March 1 at the Brighton Bar opening for Bow Wow Wow.
Audience members had room in the studio to watch the bands and enjoy the show live. Couches were moved from the lobby to the studio and spectators had the opportunity to not only watch the bands, but also watch the Hawk TV crew operate throughout the event.
Sarah Clemency is an alumnus who graduated with a degree in theatre and music. She decided to stop by Rock n Raise to see friends and check out the bands. Clemency said, “I only saw two performances, but both were great. Live music is always a good thing.” Clemency was impressed with how well Hawk TV puts on their live shows. “The hosts always seem calm and collected, yet excited about the event. And to do it all live? I definitely commend all of Hawk TV,” she said.
The Plangere lobby was also decorated in honor of Rock n Raise. There were tables set up where brownies, cookies and other snacks were being sold in exchange for donations. Guitar hero was also available to play for students feeling inspired to rock out themselves.
Alpha Sigma Tau contributed to the rock and roll atmosphere with their photo booth display, which featured props like star glasses or a blow up guitar for students to pose with. Andrea Gonzalez, junior and political science major, operated the photo booth. She said, “It was really fun to ask people to participate in the photo booth. Every picture was funny and original with all the silly items. My sisters and I enjoyed spending our time at this event and running the booth in support of such a great cause.”
Another band to play the event was Jersey shore locals Offshore. Offshore is a four piece reggae-funk band who have been together for just under a year, they placed first for the event. “We just love to play,” said lead vocalist and guitarist Chaz Piancone. “If we get to a gig and there are three people or 300 people we play that show the exact same. We’ve done battle of the bands before but never for such a good cause.” The foursome agreed that they thought the event was put together very professionally, even going so far as to say they felt as if they were being pampered. Bassist for Offshore, Kevin Stryker, is a student at the University studying music. The band is hoping to get into the studio soon to record an EP, in the meantime you can check them out on their Facebook page; facebook.com/ offshorenj.
In addition to the Hawk TV broadcast, The X was also broadcasting Rock n Raise live over the radio waves. Roy Ranous, senior and communication major, was one of the board operators for The X, along with Mike Hildebrandt. Ranous said, “Our job was to make sure the audio signal from the show downstairs was transmitting a good sound through the radio station.” He went on to explain they used no delay while transmitting and everything went live right as it occurred. “There were a couple hiccups here and there but ultimately it was a successful broadcast,” said Ranous.
Katie Meyer, assistant producer noted that through pure chance, each act involved had at least one member who had a direct connection to the University. “I thought the day went well,” she said, “All four bands played very well, the acoustic acts were great.”
The acoustic acts consisted of Natalie Zeller, The Dashers and Coltin Kayser. The Dashers are an acoustic duo made up of Jonathan Warhol, communication major, and his band mate Ed Donovan. Coltin Kayser, business major, was accompanied by his harmonica and was the first acoustic act to play. Zeller is a singer and songwriter studing music at the University.
For some acts, this was their first time playing in front of cameras. Seasons is a five piece rock band based out of Monroe Township. “We felt like we were on Letterman,” joked Brian Haring, vocalist and keyboardist for the band. The quintet has an EP coming out within the next few weeks and it will be released for free on their Facebook page at facebook. com/seasonsbandnj. They all agreed the TV studio was impressive. Haring is a junior who just transferred to the University this year. “I really like the people,” Haring said, “I’d say that’s my favorite thing about Monmouth; especially the music and theatre department.”
Ray Bogan, junior and communication major, was the director of Rock n Raise. Bogan explained the job of the director includes running down the producer’s plans, what they want to see and bringing it to the television screen. Bogan said, “The crew did great, we’re all students here and we’re always learning and this is the epitome of a learning experience when you’re able to put on a big production like this. Everyone put in 100 percent.”
The final act of the day was B.Funk, a groovy Jersey based band that combines funk and blues with a hip-hop essence. Fronted by MC Brian Cole, B.funk brought a unique rap-rock style to the event that had nearly everyone bobbing their head to the music. B.Funk’s drummer Zach Olim is a music industry major at the University.
Andy Schmid, senior and production manager for Rock n Raise helped to set up the lights, hook up the electronics and oversee that everything ran smoothly throughout the show. Schmid said, “My favorite part of the day was when B.Funk performed, hip-hop mixed with funk, I was really into that.”
Former program director at WMCX and alumnus Brian Morelli donated his drum set for the day and worked as a drum tech setting up the performers. “This was a year where every band was incredible,” said Morelli. “My favorite part of the day were the slutty brownies.” Slutty brownies were being sold in the lobby and consisted of chocolate chips, cookie dough and Oreos all merged into a triple layer brownie treat.
Professor Donna Dolphin is the co-advisor to Hawk TV, as well as a founding advisor. She explained the vast amount of work that goes into a production such as this. Dolphin said, “I’m really pleased about everyone who participated and I’m really proud of the communication students who had an opportunity to step up and apply their skills and feel a challenge.”
PHOTO COURTESY of Kitty Dorsey