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Catawba College Hosts Young Guns Battle of the Bands

February 12, 2007

Category: Academics, Events, Music

Catawba College is now accepting entries for its first annual Carolina Young Guns Battle of the Bands for high-school musicians. Finalists will be invited to Catawba's Salisbury, N.C., campus for a Final Showdown on Saturday April 28, 2007.

The winners will receive a cash prize and serve as the opening act for an evening concert by the Catawba College Vernaculars. In addition, all entrants will receive consideration for music scholarships for study at Catawba ranging up to $2,500 per year ($10,000 if renewed over four years of study).

The Carolina Young Guns competition is jointly sponsored by Catawba College's Community Music Program and Catawba chapter of the Music and Entertainment Industry Students Association. The college is home to a young, thriving degree program in contemporary popular music, Catawba Rocks!, that draws students from across the United States.

A number of the students and recent graduates have already begun to distinguish themselves professionally. They include 2006 graduate Dennis Reed, who beat out nearly 1300 other college entrants from schools such as Berklee and Belmont to win the 9th annual BMI John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship. Reed is now also a finalist in the International Songwriting Competition, an event that drew 15,000 entries from around the world. In addition to Reed's achievements, a current Catawba student had the #1 alternative song on during the summer of 2006, and a band made up of Catawba alumni held the same spot in online sales at Aware Records (John Mayer’s label) during the same period.

The Catawba curriculum and the Carolina Young Guns competition both grow from the college's belief that students of popular music are woefully underserved by higher education. The Catawba Music Department not only welcomes students of popular music but has also taken major strides to increase the inclusiveness of its curriculum. The Vernaculars, a for-credit popular music ensemble, is a notable example. Each year, the group plays a variety of both old-school and new-school music to give students the artistic depth and breadth that will help ensure their professional success after graduation.  

Among legacy works, the Vernaculars have performed numbers made famous by the Beatles (including the entire Abbey Road album), the Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Nirvana, Queen, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, James Brown, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, and others. Among songs of more recent vintage, they’ve performed numbers by John Mayer, Dave Matthews, the Gavin DeGraw, the Goo Goo Dolls, Death Cab for Cutie, Snow Patrol, Hoobastank, the Foo Fighters, Switchfoot, Regina Spektor, Fiona Apple, and Gnarls Barkley.  

The Music Department has also established courses in music business, songwriting, music technology, etc., and is home to a state-of-the-art project studio.

The entry deadline for the Carolina Young Guns Battle of the Bands is April 2, 2007. For information about entering the competition as well as popular music at Catawba College, visit or contact Dr. David Lee Fish at

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