WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Chappaqua's Dan and the Pelicans took first-place honors in the third annual Battle of the Teen Bands held at Purple Crayon Center for Learning and Social Innovation in Hastings-on-Hudson on Saturday.
Dan and the Pelicans' unique hard-charging performance style combined with the powerful and accomplished musicianship of drummer Dan Sitnick, guitarist Connor Curnin, lead singer Max Satow and bassist Jarred Barlow -- all age 16 -- won the favor of the judges.
"This was a great experience and we didn't expect to win with all these great bands here," said Pelicans' front man and guitarist Max Satow said. "We are looking forward to recording and playing a lot this summer. The (Purple Crayon) is a great room to play."
The winners earned an invitation to record their music with producer Adel Hinawi, owner of the Purple Crayon.
The judges were: Lee Danney of Good Works Music, who has spent 20 years in artist development and music consulting currently with "America's Got Talent; Bill Werde, former director of Billboard Magazine and now developing businesses in music and media spaces with Guggenheim Digital; Barb Prisament, a music marketing professional and music director for multiple artists and bands, and a blogger; and Adel Hinawi listened and evaluated along with more than 150 family, fans and fellow musicians in the packed room.
"These young musicians have a high level of skill and passion for music," Werde said. "They all performed very well. What we look for is musicianship, performance and connection with the the audience as well as that ability to bring you in to their music."
Prisament, who serves as a co-organizer of the annual "Take Me To The River Festival in Hastings, said the young musicians inspired the audience and the judges.
"We can critique some of the basics like sound, creativity and musicianship, but what we really enjoy is seeing the passion for music that we all go to live concerts to shares," Prisament said. "I'm always impressed by how well these teenagers perform."
Inferior Potassium's Tim Hays said the experience of playing in the "Battle" helps build his performance resume. His band mates were Caleb Flood Goldstick, Nathan Blum and Scott Sherman, all 16.
"I just joined this band and we all play with Hastings musicians in different groups," said Hays, an accomplished guitarist. "I thought we did pretty well after really being together rehearsing for about a month. We love to create music and play for people, so this was a great opportunity."
Flood the Oceans members are Jared Nelson (17), Nick Dagher (18), Eddie Iodice (17), Eli Lederman (16) and JP Tachov (17).
The all-New Rochelle High School student band Empty Gestures included Nina Riemerschmid, Jacob Wiengast, Mark Poggioli and Eli Sills, all 15.