Northern Territory Government Newsroom

Fat Pigeon has taken out the eighth annual Battle of the School Bands

Fat Pigeon, a band made up of students from Sanderson Middle School, Casuarina Senior College and Darwin High School has taken out the eighth annual Battle of the School Bands contest in the final last night at Brown’s Mart Theatre.

Battling it out against 17 other finalists from across the Territory, Fat Pigeon impressed the judges and will now perform on the same stage as big Aussie names, The Rubens, John Butler Trio, Peking Duk and Tash Sultana at the 2017 BASSINTHEGRASS music festival.

Also scoring a gig on the coveted line up is Stevie Jean from Darwin High School who took out the soloist/duo category.

NT Music School principal Bill Grose said, “the number of participants in the heats in Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Alice Springs, Darwin and Palmerston and the workshops in Tennant Creek this year clearly demonstrates that the program continues to strike a chord with students from all over the NT.

“The big development that we noticed this year was a step up to new levels of creativity and originality in the music that students have brought to the contest. All the entries in Battle of the School Bands are required to perform an original, and NT students have their own very unique voices and styles when it comes to expressing themselves though the arts.”

Senior teacher Simon Pedder echoed Mr Grose’s sentiments, declaring this year’s Battle has been the “most hotly contested ever” with finely honed skills “tightening the gap between rivals.

“Acts have come from across the Territory, with an increase in performers using electronica — electronic-based styles such as techno, house, drum and bass. The long-standing favoured genres of heavy metal, folk, rap, turntabling, and rock and roll also feature in the extraordinary soundscapes.

“There is a pretty even spread of bands, soloists and duos that have qualified for the finals this year. The competition has been dominated by bands in the past, but this year that’s not the case. Students are more willing to test their skills in a duo, or go it alone as a soloist.

“Each year, Territory schools seem to be producing an ever higher calibre of musicians, which is a direct reflection of the hard work of music teachers and their students.”

Mr Grose praised all entrants “for their passion, creativity and charisma.

“Although this is presented as a competition, the main game here is to create and share original music – I encourage any NT student who enjoys music to have a go at writing two original songs or pieces of music and entering the event next year.

“You don’t have to be an expert, this is also for students who are just starting out. There’s plenty of room for everybody.”

Using the NT Music School’s web page, the two-hour final was streamed online for the first time.

“Anyone in the world with an internet connection was able to watch the final, including family, friends, music enthusiasts, record producers, talent scouts, and anyone interested in rising talent in the Territory,” Mr Pedder said.

Heats were held throughout the Territory in Katherine, Alice Springs, Nhulunbuy, Palmerston and Darwin. Music workshops were held in Tennant Creek. 

Now in its eighth year, the Battle of the School Bands is open to all middle and secondary
(Years 7 – 12) students in Northern Territory government and non-government schools.

Entrants must compose and perform original music only and are judged on their stagecraft, originality and musicianship.  

A list of the winners is below.



Winner:            Fat Pigeon – Sanderson Middle School, Casuarina Senior College, Darwin High School

Runner Up:      Juice – Centralian Senior College


Winner:            Stevie Jean – Darwin High School

Runner Up:      Fishslappa – Darwin High School

Judges Awards

Best Original Song

Winner:           Noke – Nhulunbuy High School
Runner Up:     
Obscenery – Katherine High School

Middle Years Encouragement Award:   Jayna and Joanne – Dripstone Middle School


Media – for further information contact Joss Wyer – 0401 119 215