A project of the Afterschool Alliance

Case Study: Battle of the Bands draws media and local officials

"I established [additional funding] for extended daily hours and summer programs so that working parents can have high quality options for their children in the afterschool hours and summer. Children should not suffer low quality care because their parents have to work." - Sen. Bob Casey

Keys to Success:

Philbin’s advice for staging such events: Beware the volatile combination of different age groups, different schools and loud music. “I wasn't familiar with ‘moshing’,” she says, referring to a dancing trend that involves dancers jumping onto other dancers. “We had to keep that contained—and that made me feel a little old! I ended up dividing the dancing time by age group, and pressing teachers and afterschool providers into service to keep things from getting out of hand.”

On the other hand, she says, “It was great that the bands took the message of the city and put together their own arrangements. I think that was a powerful message. And I appreciated that the bands were all respectful of one another, and that the middle school students had a chance to see that behavior modeled.”

Where: Scranton, Pennsylvania

Who: Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll, the mayor, school board members, and 1,000 parents and students.


A “Battle of the Bands” event, built around the mayor’s city pride initiative, attracted media attention and local policy makers, creating visibility for the program and strengthening relationships with officials.

Molly Quinn Philbin’s BEST (Building Educational Success Together) afterschool program in Scranton, Pennsylvania, hosted a musical Lights On Afterschool event in 2003. Philbin organized a “Battle of the Bands” at a newly opened high school and invited students from neighboring middle school afterschool programs to listen and dance.

The visibility the event gave the program and afterschool in general was invaluable. “I think it was memorable for the officials who were there, and that it helped make the point about how important afterschool is in the lives of our children,” she says. “And that's going to stick with them, I know.”

The Program:

Each band performed its own arrangement of an original song called “Scranton, Come Back,” commissioned by the BEST program to support the mayor of Scranton’s “Restore the Pride” initiative.

Lt. Gov. Catherine Baker Knoll joined the mayor and several school board members at the event, along with representatives from the local JCPenney store, Junior Achievement and Good Schools Pennsylvania. Approximately 1,000 parents and students participated. The lieutenant governor’s and the mayor's participation helped generate widespread media coverage.