Celebrity judges include 'Jersey Boys' cast members and Fred Jackson
Students from more than 10 area schools inspired by the anti-bullying spirit will compete for the best musical show in front of "Jersey Boys" cast members and other celebrity judges at the "BAND Against Bullying" multi-school music and arts festival to be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at UB's Center for the Arts.
The competition and "dignity-for-all" rally seeks to raise awareness of bullying-related issues and anti-bullying education efforts among schools and youth groups.
Janet Snyder from Kiss 98.5 will host the event. The acts will be scored by a panel of 10 judges, including Fred Jackson, running back for the Buffalo Bills; Andrew Peters, an alumnus of the Buffalo Sabres; Nicholas Picholas from Kiss 98.5; and Hayden Milanes from the national touring cast of the musical "Jersey Boys." Milanes will perform at the May 14 event.
Other judges include Ed Suk, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, New York Regional Office; Amanda Nickerson, associate professor of counseling and director of UB's Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention; and Dennis Black, UB's vice president for university life and services.
Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.nybandagainstbullying.org.
Students from 10 local high schools will perform their themed music or arts acts to raise community awareness and earn the distinction as the best performance at the "BAND Against Bullying" competition. Arts groups at local schools will also display their projects, all created around the anti-bullying theme.
"Clearly the issue of bullying and harassment in schools is a prevalent concern," said UB's Nickerson, whose Alberti Center is hosting the competition. "And it's really the youth who are going to take the lead in setting a culture and climate of acceptance and dignity for all people."
Among those supporting the event are lead sponsor Hodgson Russ LLP, M&T Bank, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation, AldoMedia, Dent Neurological Institute, New Era, WebbMason, the 100 Club of Buffalo, JC Creations and KISS 98.5.
Bullying and harassment occur frequently among youth (studies indicate that one out of three students is involved as perpetrator, target or both). Bullying and harassment are related to social, emotional, behavioral and academic problems, and can affect both the target and the person doing the bullying.
The issue has received unprecedented attention in the media and government, including New York state's Dignity for All Students Act, effective July 2012, with an amendment to address cyberbullying becoming effective July 2013.
BAND Against Bullying seeks to involve youth in raising awareness as an important first step.