Westchester hosts Battle of the Bands


Westchester Elementary School hosted its annual Battle of the Bands fundraiser event on March 10 at Avondale Towne Cinema. Rick Beato and Friends opened the event with a mix of classic rock. Photo by R. Scott Belzer


PTA holds annual fundraiser at Avondale’s Towne Cinema, raises more than $15,000

On the evening of March 10, Towne Cinema in Avondale Estates transformed into a haven for good times, rock-n-roll and the epicenter of school fundraising.

Westchester Elementary School—located at 758 Scott Boulevard in Decatur—hosted its third annual Battle of the Bands, raising more than $15,000, according to event officials.

“It’s hard, in general, to raise money for an individual school—it’s always an auction or a carnival or a festival,” said PTA member Kelly Brooks. “We’ve tried to think of a different way to raise money and we really like to engage the community beyond Westchester. All of the bands are really good and everyone is guaranteed to have a great time.”

Brooks said money raised at the event will go toward playground classroom and facility upgrades, grants for teachers, computers for students, field trips and other enrichment programs.

Westchester Principal Rochelle Lofstrand said the event has gotten better each year since its beginnings at Eddie’s Attic during the 2014-2015 school year. She said parents were able to ensure all teachers and school staff could attend the event by purchasing their tickets.

“It’s a great community-building event,” Lofstrand said. “We don’t have to have an auction—we can just have fun together, enjoy good music and support local bands. It’s important to have something that involves not only Westchester parents but the entire city of Decatur is a testament to our parents.”

The five bands featured at the event, vetted through an audition in fall 2016, were MoBeda, The Benders, Rick Beato and Friends, Carlos Danger and defending champions from 2016, The Dammages.

The bands provided a mix of classic rock, country, R&B, Americana, funk, reggae, grunge and folk to provide an eclectic mix for attendees.

Award-winning disc jockey and former radio personality Yvonne Monet emceed the event while City Schools of Decatur (CSD) superintendent David Dude, Sister Hazel drummer Mark Tojanowski, Grammy award-winning Outkast producer Matt Still and student Mia Green were judges.

Dude, who began as CSD superintendent during the 2015-2016 school year, said he was asked to judge last year and that it was too fun an event to not judge again. He said he enjoyed the energy, the music and incorporating a student in the judging process.

“The event is fantastic,” Dude said. “It’s great to see everyone come out, support the kids, raise a lot of money and have fun doing it. We have so many different fundraisers in our schools that [organizers] have to get creative to set themselves apart.”

For more information on Westchester Elementary’s Battle of the Bands event, visit www.westchesterrocks.org.

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