By: Aaron Patterson
The last BAM ended in a not-so-happy fashion for some. The headliner band Ion, which includes drummer and backup vocalist senior Adam Houmam, was unable to play a full set because the administration literally pulled the plug on them.
Ion was supposed to play around 9 p.m., but ended going on about 40 minutes late. To make matters worse BAM ended at 10, which gave them only around 20 minutes to play. As they continued their set they were running out of time to play. I thought it was reasonable to assume that the staff would have no problem letting the band play one or two more songs for about ten more minutes. Unfortunately, this was not so easy for them. Despite the fact it was 10 p.m. the band kept playing, which did not sit too well with the vice principals. Even though the crowd kept cheering and Adam’s fellow students wanted him to play, Ms. Holland stepped in and cut it short. She was telling the band to hurry up in the middle of a song. She gestured to Adam that time was running out and Adam responded with a nod knowing his night of playing was soon to be over. Despite this, Ion kept playing, knowing it was unfair for them to stop. As it was Oceana’s last BAM, the crowd wanted to enjoy its last moments and relish the effort all the students and Mr. Cruickshank put into it. This is when Ms. Holland and Bruce took matters into their own hands. Bruce pulled the plug on Ion as they continued to play their set, just a few minutes after 10. The music stopped abruptly and boos erupted from the crowd because Ion was not allowed to finish their set.
Everyone understood that we had to go and that BAM ended at 10, but everyone was enjoying the music to much to leave. Senior Airel Donaire said, “I only went to BAM to see Adam’s band play. I waited four hours for him to play only 20 minutes.”
Since the power was off Adam and his band mate had no choice but stop playing. Ryan, the lead singer and guitarist, showed his frustration by throwing his guitar on the ground. In pulling the plug, someone pulled on the electric cable of his $4000 dollar amp, which could have been damaged it if not turned off properly. This would upset anyone who spent that amount of money on equipment. A few words of frustration were exchanged between staff and students as the band started to pack up.
When asked how he felt about this senior Nathan Lumanlan answered, “One more song wouldn’t have hurt anything, people were still waiting for rides 30 minutes after the show anyways.”
I soon asked myself the same question; was it too much trouble to wait and listen to one or two more songs? I would like to think our staff members would be fair and would want to watch one of their students, who has matured and grown into a great kid, achieve one of his goals and play music to his fellow classmates.
Senior Borhan Dosouqi agrees. He said, “Every student should have the equal opportunity to play, no matter what.” This makes total sense, seeing as all the other acts got to play their full sets and took time to get on and off the stage. This is also what put Ion behind schedule.
One of Adam’s good friends, senior Michael Mark, expressed, “Adam has been waiting four years to play at BAM, and he has always really wanted to and finally got the chance to. He just wanted to do something positive with the school, that’s all.”
Like any story, this incident has two sides. I asked Ms. Holland why she chose to pull the plug on Ion and she said, “I was already working a 15 hour shift, I was disciplining students all day, I was tired and wasn’t feeling well. BAM ended at 10 and it is my job to get the students out and home.” Don’t get me wrong, Ms. Holland was only doing her job and making sure everything was going to plan. She told me she loves BAM and that it’s one of her favorite school events all year. I asked her why, since it was the last BAM and it was one of her senior students playing, could she not have waited ten more minutes and let them play one more song? This is disappointing because I believe you should represent your students and support them, not cut them short of anything.
Senior Jiddou Sirker reflected on the incident saying, “School wide outcomes apply to all, students, staff and faculty. They [the administration] were not following outcome number five of being respectful and responsible by not allowing Ion to finish playing.”
Clearly, many students are upset at this; none more than Adam himself. Adam feels that, “Ms. Holland was pretty soulless for that one. She only sees me as a student and not a person and grown adult. I had many people come out to watch me play and I let them down.”It’s also important to consider that Adam has turned his school life around from being a trouble maker to a positive member of the Oceana community. He was representing his school and playing a show for his classmates. He is over the fact that Ms. Holland and Bruce were just doing their jobs, but is still upset that they could not let Ion play another ten minutes after a lot of hard work.
Mr. Cruickshank released the following statement about the incident:
“During BAM 13, there were some glitches earlier in the evening that set us behind schedule and the main-stage was running a few minutes late. This was BAM’s fault and as such I had told one Administrator that I wanted to let the last band finish their set, which I anticipated would be around 10:15. However, at 10:07pm I was standing in the courtyard and the music came to an abrupt stop.
I am sad that Ion, the last band of the night at the last BAM, did not to get to play its full set. Live performances are less predictable than school bell schedules. To honor the effort of all bands and groups who performed as well as to have ensured a frictionless end to an era, I would have preferred to go late by another 5 or 10 minutes. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make that decision.”
As a senior that has attended Oceana for all four years I would think the administration would represent the students and encourage them and back them up, but I guess doing their job comes before the love for students.