Big Red, Central bands face off at Steubenville Marina

SHOWDOWN AT THE WATERFRONT — The Catholic Central High School band performs Saturday during the inaugural Battle of the Bands at the Steubenville Marina. The musicians faced off against those from Steubenville High School in an effort to raise funds. -- Linda Harris

STEUBENVILLE — The Big Red band might have won bragging rights for 2019, but Catholic Central’s Crusaders didn’t go down without a fight at Saturday’s inaugural Battle of the Bands.

The bands treated area residents to a spirited competition at the Steubenville Marina, each playing seven songs during the course of the 45-minute musical duel. Residents crowded the hillside above the marina as the two bands stood with their backs to the Ohio River and boaters who stopped to listen.

“I can’t imagine a better setting,” Councilwoman at large Kimberly Hahn said. Hahn, who serves on council’s recreation committee, said the crowd — estimated at 600-plus — was much bigger than she’d expected for the first event.

“To be able to look down and see the bands we’re so proud of here in Steubenville, with the Ohio River as their backdrop, the boat traffic and the bridge. I’m just so grateful.”

The event, part of the Steubenville Parks and Recreation “Meet me at the Marina for …” series, was a fundraiser, not for the marina but for the participating bands: After the performances concluded, spectators voted for their favorite — $1 per vote with no limit on how many times a person could vote. A little more than $1,530 was raised, with the bands each taking home half of the proceeds.

BIG RED — Steubenville High School’s band performs during Saturday’s inaugural Battle of the Bands at the Steubenville Marina. -- Linda Harris

“I walked past Central fans who put money in the Bed Red bucket, and I saw Big Red parents put money in Central’s,” volunteer Patrick McLaughlin said. “They supported both schools.”

Hahn said exposure, not money, was her goal for holding the play-off at the marina.

“Obviously, we need fund raising for the marina,” she said. “But today was not about that. Today was about being able to serve our community”

Hahn said she never expected the response she got at the beginning of the event when she asked anyone who had never been to the marina before to raise their hand.

“I was very surprised by the number of people who raised their hand,” she said. “Not so much by the youths, but the adults who didn’t even know it was here.”

Second Ward Councilman Craig Petrella said it was “a gorgeous day, a gorgeous setting,” with music from two great bands.

“Our marina is a diamond in the rough,” he said.

“All it needs is a little polishing and it could be an asset to our city — and it belongs to all of us.

“Just take a look around you,” he added. “If they have more events here, people might be more willing to donate money to improve the facility.”

He said exposing young people to the marina could pay dividends in the future.

“Hopefully, we get them down here, get them involved,” Petrella said. “Let them look forward to the future and taking over as leaders. We need to start empowering our youth to get involved.”