This Battle of the Bands will give more than just entertainment — it will benefit an organization that gives kids a reason to smile.
This Friday, Operation Smile is putting on a Battle of the Bands to raise money for the organization.
Operation Smile is an international organization that raises money to give free surgeries to children born with cleft lips and cleft palates. These children might not have otherwise had access to safe surgery or the money to pay for it.
The OSU Operation Smile Club is a student organization made up of 40 students supporting the same cause.
“Operation Smile is just so straight forward and we help change children’s lives so that they can eat better and talk better and socialize,” said Dena Pierog, the director of collaboration for the group and a third-year in marketing.
The idea for the Battle of the Bands sprung out of Pierog’s love for music and passion for the cause.
“Columbus has such a great music scene and I love going to concerts and I just wanted to combine that with operation smile and do an event with something that I really loved,” Pierog said.
The Battle of the Bands is not officially in collaboration with another student organization, but many of the musicians performing are involved with Musicians Collective.
The show will be the first official show as a full band for Typewriter John and the Bluestrings, a five-piece made up of Ohio State engineering students.
“We’re really happy and fortunate that they actually let us play because we have like, no credentials at this point,” said guitarist and vocalist Nathan Lamba.
The five-member “bluesy, rock-and-roll band” will be premiering an original song, along with a cover of a song by The Weeknd.
Lamba, a third-year in biomedical engineering, said each of the band members are skilled on their respective instruments, and their energy and “jamability” will make up for any lack in experience playing together.
Another participating band, Rust Belt Revival, also considers itself blues rock, but has gotten a chance to play many shows in the year since it formed, including shows at the Union, Wexner Center and fraternity and house parties around campus.
“We’ve been playing live for over a year now and we gel pretty well together. I think we put on a good show … We can communicate without speaking most of the time,” said Patrick Riley, lead singer and bassist.
The band has played exclusively covers up to this point, but it plans to premiere its first original song at the event on Friday.
“It really sounds like a great cause and I’m excited to play at this event and raise money to help the kids,” said Riley, a fourth year in economics and political science.
Admission for the event is free, and the audience will decide the winner by putting their donations in jars corresponding to their favorite band of the night. The band with the most donations wins.
Operation Smile’s goal is to raise at least $600, which would translate to about two and a half surgeries that cost $240 each.
The winning band will receive gift cards to Oldfield’s Tavern and Guitar Center and a trophy.
After the show, attendees are encouraged to go to Oldfield’s at 1571 N. 4th St. for an after party.
Operation Smile’s Battle of the Bands will take place on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Ohio Union Performance Hall.
Editor’s note: This article was updated on Nov. 13 to correct the spelling of Dena Pierog’s name.