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Behind the Music: The Gentlemen Overcome Strife to Win RCMS Battle For the Bands 4

Like any rock band in the pantheon of Rock n’ Roll, The Gentlemen — the five-piece rockers who took first prize at Roberto Clemente Middle School’s Fourth Annual Battle For The Bands Concert — had to endure a period of strife and self-doubt before tasting sweet success.

Middle school is indeed a microcosm of the real world. The Gentleman are made up of seventh-grader Luke Griffith on keyboards, and four eighth graders; Victor Wawero on drums, Nathan Ogero on vocals, Benjamin Reyes on guitar, Visesh Uppoor on bass, and Matthew Owusu on guitar, and they faced an uphill climb to win the competition, which was held Thursday afternoon, March 8 at the school.

“I can’t believe this,” lead singer Nathan Ogero told the audience on stage after it was announced that The Gentlemen had won. “To think last week, we were barely a band. We were going to break up.” As the band started playing their encore performance of the Michael Jackson hit, P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing), Ogero turned to his bandmates and said, “I love these guys.”

Roberto Clemente Middle School’s Rock Band program has been putting on the Battle of the Bands for four years, and it has become one of the highlights of the year at the Germantown school. The bands are part of the Rock Band program run by RCMS music teacher Randi Levy.

The annual Battle For The Bands competition, in which bands from the school’s Advanced Rock Band class take the stage performed as part of a fundraiser to help cover the cost of an annual field trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.