Battle of the Bands
May 07, 2012
By Emmy Addison
Class of 2014
The annual Battle of the Bands was no contest for junior Aria Ellett.
For the first time in Ojai Valley School’s three years of participation, an OVS student won first place in the Condor League’s yearly musical competition.
Competing against contestants from Thacher, Cate and Oak Grove schools, Aria took home first place in Saturday night's competition, performing an original song titled "Somewhere Under Dust" on the ukulele.
Aria entered Battle of the Bands her freshmen year in 2010 and did not place. She was unable to attend last year and had "no expectations" of making the top three this year.
"It was a five-way tie for third place and a two-way tie for second," she said. "Then they said my name and I was silently freaked out in my head, saying 'Oh my god! I won!' I was really excited, and my mom cried."
Standing in front of a smoky magenta backdrop on Thacher's lavender-lit stage, Aria's short blond hair fell across her face as she approached the microphone, her orange, pink and black striped shirt blending perfectly with the dusk-colored stage lights.
"But I'm searching for my paper town, buried somewhere under dust," she sang, her fingers strumming in perfect time with the clear notes.
"[The song] references Paper Towns by my favorite author, John Green," said Aria. "It also references "Oh! That Lonesome Sound," a song written by my close friend and amazing musician, Andrew Anderson."
This is the third year Ojai Valley School has participated in the Battle of the Bands. Last year, alumna Madisen Demery and seniors Lindsey Hanselman and Serry Park took third place.
Musical and chorus director Lisa Boyd was overjoyed for Aria.
“You never know what to expect at Battle of the Bands,” Mrs. Boyd said. “I expected her to do well, I did not expect her to win. But I am very proud, and so pleased [for her].”
Along with Aria’s triumph, seven international students formed a group titled “Panda Express” and sang a love song in English and Chinese.
Together, all eight students made OVS proud.
Senior Evan Cooper was selected as one of four judges.
“I thought it was a fantastic performance,” said Evan. “Her song was very creative and she really had command of the stage.”
He, along with the judges from Cate and Oak Grove, gave her a “perfect 10,” while Thacher’s judge gave her an admirable 8, bringing her total score to a soaring 38 points.
Aria stated that her song was inspired by her experience.
“It was a general life song, it’s kind of like don’t waste [life],” she said. “We’re young.”