Evolution Rocks! at Grayslake Central
By Beth Kramer firstname.lastname@example.org February 24, 2011 11:06PM
Grayslake Central freshman Eric Brankey plays guitar as fellow freshman Marta Richtman and Jourdan Pitts sing back-up vocals with The Darwinites band during the Evolution Rocks Battle of the Bands at the school Wednesday. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times
Updated: February 25, 2011 2:16AM
GRAYSLAKE — Talk about multi-tasking. About 150 students participated in Grayslake Central High School’s first-ever rock concert, science class and fund-raiser Wednesday.
Science teacher Katie Titus and student teacher Chris Kapolas were looking for a way to combine music with a unit on evolution. They eventually brainstormed Evolution Rocks! Freshman biology students formed bands and performed versions of rock songs with lyrics about evolution.
Students played their songs for fellow students during first and seventh periods. They also collected money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which supports research for child cancers.
Eric Brankey, 15, played the electric guitar with the Darwinites band. They played “It’s Only Natural” to the tune of “Hey Jude” by the Beatles. Some of their lyrics included lines like “Hey, Darwin of the Beagle, we are here to talk about natural selection.”
Brankey said he really puts his heart into his music and enjoyed the science project.
“I think it’s really cool. We’re doing something way different from the usual biology classes. Other students do speeches and I can put my talent to use,” Brankey said.
He said he hated biology until he got Titus as a teacher.
“Now I look forward to coming to class every day,” Brankey said.
Class members voted on their favorite band performance. Winning bands (there was one for first hour and another for seventh hour) played an encore song at the end of the period.
Many students used the live performance to realize the Fight Apathy Challenge that Titus and Kapolas gave them at the beginning of the semester.
“We challenged each student to do something out of their comfort zone,” Titus explained. “Many of them are shy and are using this to fight apathy. To see them being pushed off the ledge of their comfort in front of their peers was terrifying for them. Every one of them jumped and they survived. I’m so proud of them.”
Student Sam Wresinski, 14, sang lead vocals for the Durigans band. Her band played the song “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon with lyrics like “I know that I could use some evolution.”
She said she was a little nervous to sing in frong of her peers, especially since she had only one day to rehearse.
“It was definitely fun, though,” Wresinski said.
Evolution Rocks! wound up raising about $50. It is part of a month-long school district initiative to raise funds for St. Baldrick’s.
“It was up to the kids. They decided to donate to the cause for watching the concert. We all wanted to our part to raise money,” Titus said.
Kapolas said they worked hard to combine the evolution of music concept with the evolution science principals.
“It was really cool to see it come to life. We had a vision of getting music involved,” Kapolas said.