For some bands, this year’s THON performance will be another one under their belt, but for others, it will be their first time taking to the THON stage.
Band Captains Samantha Robins and Stan Borodyansky said more than 30 bands auditioned for a slot to play at THON this year, from which ten were chosen to perform.
Robins (senior-psychology) said it was a tough decision process, but considered herself lucky to have met so many talented people who were passionate about THON.
“We ultimately thought to ourselves, ‘If I were dancing and was on my feet and it was hour 30, who would I want to listen to?’ ” Robins said.
The 10 acts who are slated to perform throughout the weekend’s events include: Table Ten, My Hero Zero, Total Whiteout, Kait Weston, Dave Joyce and the Long Barrels, Fred Smoothe and the Midnight Social, Velveeta, Lowjack, Go Go Gadjet, and Michael Broda and Gates Tomorrow.
When it comes to participating in THON weekend, the members of local band Table Ten are no strangers. This marks a third THON performance for Antonio Parisi, Josh Corcoran and Jared Stillman — in fact, Corcoran and Stillman were also both dancers in THON 2009.
“There is so much positive energy in the Bryce Jordan Center coming from the dance floor and in the stands that you easily become wrapped up in the emotion of it all,” Corcoran said.
Dancing for THON was an experience of a lifetime for Stillman, and being able to continue his involvement in the philanthropy through his music career is the most rewarding experience, he said.
Though they’ve been through it before, Corcoran said the routine hardly feels stale.
“You never really know what it’s like to play on that stage until you’re up there,” he said.
My Hero Zero
Gifting the crowd with rock, club and party favorites is My Hero Zero. Though this is only the second time the group’s performing at THON, band member Jason Olcese said playing at THON is the band’s favorite show of the year.
Like Table Ten, Olcese said My Hero Zero wants to try and take all of the high-energy songs they perform and stuff it into one set.
“We want to give dancers an energy boost,” he said. “We feel like that is our job.”
To aid this effort, My Hero Zero’s lead vocalist said the group wants to go above and beyond with its performance so it can give dancers adrenaline.
Though the name Total Whiteout is new to the THON line-up this year, all of its members performed at THON 2011 under a different band name.
Formerly known as 5 Cherry Lewis, band member Kevin Franklin said Total Whiteout is the same band except for the change in lead vocals from Chris Mower to Eric Henkels. Mower still sings, but now also plays the keyboard.
The band tends to play the latest hits on the radio and club music, and Mower said the band is even going to play an N*SYNC song with a couple dance moves to go along with it.
Mower said the band has a few ideas up its sleeves to change up the show and that it’s going to be a surprise for dancers and the crowd.
With a different story from most bands, it will be YouTube sensation Kait Weston’s first THON performance. Weston is famous for her rendition of Lady Antebellum’s “Never Alone” and recorded a charity single for THON featuring Public Relations Captain Dan Fratoni (sophomore-business management).
Weston said she started singing when she was about 12 years old.
“My parents would tell me to be quiet and not sing, but I didn’t listen to them and kept going,” Weston said.
She said Fratoni contacted her last year through YouTube and they have been talking ever since. This past September, Weston said Fratoni asked if she would want to perform at THON.
Weston first experienced THON on a smaller scale when Penn State alumni held a six-hour dance-a-THON in Los Angeles, Calif. There, everyone kept talking about how amazing THON was, and Weston said she is now “so excited to perform for the dancers.”
Dave Joyce and the Long Barrels
Dave Joyce and the Long Barrels were one of the winners of the THON Band Bash, and lead singer Dave Joyce said this is the second year in a row the band has won. Joyce, Class of 2009, said the band, though, went by a slightly different name, Dave Joyce and the Slow Pitch Band.
Drummer Drew Bastian said this is his first time performing in a band for THON and that he is tremendously excited to be on stage drumming for the crowd and “for the kids.”
Though he has been performing for an audience since the fifth grade, Bastian (senior-integrative arts) said “that set of nerves never goes away” before going on stage.
Fred Smoothe and the Midnight Social
Fred Smoothe and the Midnight Social was the other winner of the THON Band Bash and was awarded with a 50-minute contract to play during THON. Robins said the band was chosen to perform because of its high energy and its success with involving the crowd.
When deciding on what bands to sign for THON, Robins said band captains not only look for great music, but for bands that are passionate about THON and not just looking to get its name out in the public eye.
Fred Smoothe and the Midnight Social is one of those bands, Robins said.
State College local band Velveeta made its first debut in August 1995 at local bar The Brewery, 233 E. Beaver Ave. Taking the stage to fight cancer, “for the kids,” is nothing new to the group as the 1980s cover band has been a part of THON for years.
Robins said she and Borodyansky (senior-life sciences) look at all the bands that auditioned last year, but Velveeta stood out with its enthusiasm.
Lowjack is a local band and can be found around State College at the Phyrst, 111 E. Beaver Ave., Bar Bleu, 112 S. Garner St., and The Brewery. This four-person band dabbles in rock and country music and has also played for THON is past years.
Robins said the band has performed at THON before and received good feedback, so she and Borodyansky decided to ask for them to return.
“Every year is a different year so we aren’t trying to make the bands the same as last year, but we do reach out to them,” Robins said. “We think [Lowjack] is great.”
Go Go Gadjet
Go Go Gadjet has traveled up and down the East Coast performing and State College has been a frequent stop on those trips. With five members, this hip-hop, rock and techno band has performed for THON every year since 2008.
Robins said they are one of the most popular bands at THON. She said Go-Go Gadjet auditioned for THON at Indigo, 112 W. College Ave., by playing a 90s power hour and she couldn’t believe the bands musical diversity.
“They have the ability to sound like so many different bands and types of music,” Robins said. “We definitely wanted them to play at THON.”
Michael Broda and Gates Tomorrow
Michael Broda and Gates Tomorrow is a four-person band hailing from Hershey. The band plays various genres of music like rock, blues and funk.
Robins said Michael Broda is a Four Diamonds child and he approached the band captains about playing at THON.
Broda originally told Robins he wanted to play in the Kids Variety Show, but Robins and Borodyansky thought otherwise.
“How cool is that for a Four Diamonds child to play at THON?” Robins said.