On April 25th, the sixth annual Band Against Bullying Performance took place at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts. Band Against Bullying is dedicated to promoting anti-bullying legislation and education. Specifically, it raises the awareness about the Dignity Act, created by the New York State Government, which states that on school property there should be no discrimination, intimidation, harassing, taunting or bullying.
Band Against Bullying was a culmination of nine schools, in Erie County, including: Amherst High School, Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts Middle School, Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts High School, Clarence High School, Iroquois High School, Lancaster High School, Williamsville East High School, Williamsville North High School and Williamsville South High School.
Each school that participated put on performances about anti-bullying. Some performances like the Buffalo Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts High School focused on the visual aspect. Their performance included a group of dancers and an incredible video in the background. Other schools, like Williamsville North High School primarily featured vocalists, with the addition of a pianist and a djembe.
The ensemble from Williamsville East featured vocalists, dancers, a pianist and a cellist. East’s theme this year was centered around teen suicide. The piece was written by senior, Adam Kluge and the dance was choreographed by Alexis Kluge. The performance also included sections of spoken words, reciting statistics about teen suicide and suicide notes, which gave the piece another layer of depth.
Each vocalist held an orange flower, to symbolize anti-bullying and wore purple accents to portray suicide prevention. At the end of the piece, each performer turned over the photograph, to reveal the suicide hotline phone number. The phrase “Let me lay them down, to rest,”, was an especially powerful line, continuously recited throughout the piece.
At the end of the event, Eric Van Houten performed for everyone. Then the finale of the show was a performance by all of the schools, singing “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman. It featured several soloists from each school, including a solo by Adam Kluge. It was a great way to end the show, with all of the schools coming together to reinforce that this event was not about winning. It was about bringing awareness to the very important topic of anti-bullying, and it gave everyone an opportunity to voice their opinions.
After the finale, it was the moment that everyone was waiting for. Everyone held hands awaiting the eminent news of which school was the runner-up and the winner. Williamsville North was announced the Runner-Up.
Then Williamsville East was announced the winner, of the sixth annual Band Against Bullying Performance. Everyone was ecstatic. Each member of the ensemble played an important role in bringing this performance to life, especially Ms. Costanzo. who cheered the group on at every single rehearsal.
Mrs. DeSantis said, “East’s BAND Against Bullying performance won the top honor for the 3rd year in a row! The performance included soloists, spoken word, dance, piano, cello and a chorus. The students wrote, composed and choreographed the entire performance sending a powerful message about teen suicide.”
According to DeSantis, judges had the following things to say about the powerful performance: “I had goosebumps for the entire performance,” “you aren’t supposed to make the judges cry,” and “enchanting and haunting.”
The video of the performances for all nice participating schools is available on the Band Against Bullying Facebook page and the trophy is proudly displayed on the counter in the main office.
Congratulations the winning Band Against Bullying Team!