Posted by: Staff | 01.19.2010

Battle of the Student Bands


If you’ve ever wondered what musical talent lies within our school, I’ve got the answer for you. Here are two extremely different but equally talented musicians: Joe Barnard, a solo artist, and AWP, a jazz band. I also have recordings of these two artists, and you will have the opportunity to vote on which artist you like the best. Don’t hesitate to read, listen, vote, and enjoy!

Artist #1

Name: Joe Barnard ’11

Age: 16 years old

Instruments: Guitar, Drums, Bass, Vocals

At merely 16 years old, singer/songwriter Joe Barnard has already accomplished leaps and bounds as a musician. He started writing his own original music when he was eleven years old. Since then, he has written an entire album, put on a concert, and taken the Beaver community by storm with his music. Now, Joe is truly one of the most professional sounding young artists I have ever encountered, yet he still manages to come off as approachable and friendly.

Soft Rock is his main area of expertise. He says that overtime his music has “developed a lot more into something that I can relate to.” He has found his own distinct sound, and he knows what he likes to play. For an adolescent musician, I’d say that’s pretty amazing.

He is currently part of the Junior Jazz band here at Beaver. Within school, he has performed at countless Jazz Cafes and Ryles performances. He also played guitar, in the pit, for Rent last year. Out of school, he performs at local venues in and around his neighborhood, such as TCAN in Natick and Firefly’s Barbeque in Framingham.

We all know how little spare time we’re given in high school; however, Joe manages to find the time to pen down songs nonetheless. “I do it whenever I can find the time,” says Joe. He describes his process as “picking up my guitar, strumming whatever comes to mind, sounding out vowels, and forming it all into something that makes sense”.

Passionate, professional, and mature beyond his years, Joe Barnard is someone all of us can look to for inspiration. I would strongly suggest all of you readers to purchase his self-produced album that is now available on iTunes. You will be happily surprised by the advanced quality of the songs and the unbelievable talent that has been put into them. Honestly, he has succeeded in creating something truly amazing. I hope that he goes on to make more music and continues to share his work with the Beaver Community.

Fun facts:

Most desired superpower: “Telepathy would be cool, but I still wouldn’t want to know EVERYTING everyone thinks about”

Dream vacation: “I don’t know who I’d go with. But I’d probably go somewhere in Italy. Venice. Yeah that sounds good”

Song: Fountain Stairs

Artist #2

Name: Armed with Pudding (AWP)

Members: Abe Hyatt on guitar, Steven Manwaring on guitar and piano, and Travis Block on drums and percussion

Ages: All 15 years old, all freshmen

You may have heard them at a jazz café, or playing for the middle school and upper school choruses. They are “Armed with Pudding,” or, more commonly known as, “AWP.” “Full of energy and spirit” best describes their personalities and their overall approach towards music. I greatly enjoyed listening to them get side-tracked into talking about every subject from Sarah Palin, to Antarctica, to Mr. Nicholson’s weird habit of always having pudding at lunch (which is actually how they got their name!). Even though they are a school sanctioned band, you can see that they are truly friends and highly motivated musicians, rather than just band mates that are forced to work together through the school.

They got started last fall through the school’s regular Jazz program. They have since played at a 8th grade promotion, done a few shows for the middle school, worked with the choruses, and participated in other school-related events.

They are strictly a Jazz band, playing mostly classic standards such as “Take five”. However, they’re personal tastes in music vary with Abe who listens to “everything except opera”, Steven who likes mostly Jazz and Rock, and Travis who gets his inspiration from jazz and country. One can hear that they have strong technique and great natural soloing instincts from listening to them play. They also say that they have all improved musically since they’ve started. “We know each other’s styles of musical endearment,” says Abe. “We are more cohesive,” Steven added.

Although they say they haven’t had much time to rehearse or perform this year, I see a lot of potential for them in the future. They’ve got a lot of qualities in their favor: good chemistry, exceptional talent, and an immense amount of spunk. If I could say anything for this band it would be that they work hard, but they never forget to have fun, which seems to work out in their benefit.

Fun Facts:

Most desired superpower:

Steven: “The ability to play any instrument in the world”

Abe: “The ability to jump really high and far”

Travis:”Invisibility, I’m gonna go unoriginal”

Dream vacation:

Abe: “Somewhere really politically unstable. But seriously New Zealand”

Steven: “Alaska.”

Abe: “Why Alaska?!?!? It’s just dead people and moose and Sarah Palin”

Travis: “Antarctica.”

Song: Little Sunflower


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