Mike Berry, a 15-year-old from Basking Ridge is part of a band whose performance of an Allman Brothers classic won a recent ‘Battle of The Bands’ competition against 200 other musicians from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The contest was held late this summer at The Highline Ballroom in New York City.
“Mike’s band blew the other kids off the stage,” says Tom Nadolski, who coached the band in preparation for the show. Berry performed a solo on keyboards. “He has a level of poise, grit, and talent that’s beyond impressive, and he and his bandmates were leagues above all the contenders.” Berry is a sophomore at the Delbarton School in Morristown.
Berry and his fellow musicians are students at School of Rock Montclair, an afterschool music program. Along with taking private lessons each week, he’s also part of the school’s Performance Program that presents themed concerts at area rock clubs.
Berry and his bandmates began rehearsals for a Performance Program tribute to The Allman Brothers in May. The concerts were performed in August at Just Jake’s in Montclair and Mexicali Live in Teaneck. Audience response to the band’s shows was so positive, they were chosen to represent the School at the Highline competition against other School of Rock bands in the tri-state area.
“Mike’s band performed the classic Allman’s song ‘One Way Out’ says Nadolski, who is the music director at School of Rock Montclair. “They were competing against amazing young musicians from Manhattan, Chatham, Princeton, Randolph, Tenafly, Farmingdale, and more — and our guys came out victorious."
He added, "It’s clear that Mike and his bandmates have many more awesome performances in store — and we can’t wait to see them.”