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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

‘Gather to Give’ ushers in the holidays

Gather+to+Give
Photo by Photo by Wesley Holmes
Gather to Give

Students gathered in front of a colorfully lit Jack K. Williams Administration Building Wednesday to donate canned food items and enjoy live music from MSC Town Hall’s “Battle of the Bands” at “Gather to Give.”

The event was a joint operation between MSC Town Hall, 12th Can and Texas A&M University President Michael Young and his wife, Marti Young, to give back to students during the tumultuous final weeks of the semester. 

MSC Town Hall became involved in the event when Michael Young approached the organization about helping host a holiday event, said MSC Town Hall Special Events Coordinator Darby Lieber.

“The president and Mrs. Young just wanted to have a holiday event to host for the students to say, ‘Thank you,’” Lieber said. “They came up with the idea to have holiday lights and some kind of entertainment, so they came to Town Hall to see what we could do. They knew we had a Battle of the Bands, so we just went under their big event to join.”

Michael Young said his wife Marti Young was chiefly responsible for the success of the event.

“I’d certainly give a lot of credit to my wife,” Michael Young said. “She absolutely loves the students and loves the idea of service and loves the idea of a gift back to the community.”

Any donated cans at the event go to the 12th Can, an on-campus food pantry that serves students, faculty and staff who aren’t sure where their next meal will come from. Derek McKee, a co-chair from the organization and business honors senior, said the organization has reached recent milestones.

“So basically our job is to fulfill the gap between their income and being able to provide for themselves,” McKee said. “We just donated over 30,000 pounds of food in our history so far. It’s Aggies helping Aggies.“

Michael Young said the Administration Building was selected as a venue for the event because of its central location to the community.

“We decided — this is such an iconic, beautiful building, and it faces out on the whole community,” Michael Young said. “It’s just fun to join in the celebration of the holidays with the whole rest of the community.”

The Battle of the Bands judges came from a variety of different backgrounds, from the dean of the College of Liberal Arts to the President of the Memorial Student Center. After a long debate, the Daniel Gonzales Band took home the top prize. 

Competing bands were tasked with assembling a five-song set list, the fifth of which was required to be a cover of a holiday song and would not be judged. Brandon Castro, chair of MSC Town Hall, said this was to give the event some needed holiday energy.

“[Michael and Marti Young] wanted to make sure we had some sort of holiday theme to the event, and I got a little nervous about the idea of having a holiday song be judged because it had to be a cover, so we came up with the solution that we would have one un-scored holiday song at the end of every set,” Castro said. “That way we get the atmosphere we’re looking for but we won’t compromise the musical integrity.“

Daniel Gonzales, local singer-songwriter and the frontman for Daniel Gonzales Band, said he was honored to take home first place.

“It was a lot of fun, a great night with great bands, so it’s truly an honor.” Gonzales said.

Gonzales said if fans want to catch the band playing again, they should check out First Friday in Bryan, where the band will play at Stafford Theatre. 

Audience member Wes Wehner said the event was a lot of fun and very unique. 

“I like — it’s got really good sound quality,” Wehner said. “I like the stage and the atmosphere. It’s very festive.”

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  • Gather to Give

    Photo by Photo by Wesley Holmes
  • Gather to Give

    Photo by Photo by Wesley Holmes
  • Gather to Give

    Photo by Photo by Wesley Holmes
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