Battle of the Bands: Broughton High School fundraiser

The Buzzard Band from Holly Springs High School, winner of the 2019 Battle of the Bands

Student fundraiser promotes awareness of neurological conditions

by Katherine Poole | photography by Marc Ridel Creative

One would be hard-pressed to find a family that has not been impacted by a neurological dis- order—stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, migraine, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, just to name a few. For high school student Charlotte Fullbright, it is her grandfather. “He had a stroke before I was born,” she says. “He is paralysed on the right side of his body and his speech is impaired by aphasia, a communication disor- der that is a side effect of the stroke.”

The junior at Broughton High School is also on the varsity basketball and volleyball teams. “As a student athlete, concus- sion is always at the forefront of our minds when we play,” she says. With her grandfather, family and teammates in mind, Fullbright was inspired to start up an event that would raise awareness for neurological health. 

As a fan of live music who’s tuned into the garage band scene amongst her peers, Fullbright settled on the idea of a music competition for students—Maintain Your Brain: Battle of the Bands, which held its inaugural event on the front lawn of Broughton High School in March 2019. Over 300 people attended the event, which raised over $20,000 for the Triangle Aphasia Project Unlimited, the non-profit Fullbright partnered with for the event. The organization serves individuals and families affected by aphasia through therapy, training, education and support.

Charlotte Fullbright with her grandfather Larry Henderson

Fullbright had no difficulty finding help getting Battle of the Bands off the ground. Maura Silverman from the Triangle Aphasia Project provided guidance setting up the fundrais- ing component. Mark Thompson, a family friend from church and the owner of the Lincoln Theatre, helped troubleshoot the logistics. He also provided the first place prize for the winning band: an opening gig at the Lincoln Theatre. (Last year, The Buzzard Band from Holly Springs High School opened for British blues rock guitarist and singer Joanne Shaw Taylor.)

Fullbright’s greatest source of support came from her far-reaching network of friends at area high schools. Kids from Broughton, Apex Friendship, Cardinal Gibbons, Enloe, Leesville Road, Young Men’s Leadership Academy, Millbrook and Sanderson spread the word about the competition, hung posters, recruited bands and ran the event.
Battle of the Bands returns for its second year on March 28. It will follow the same format as last year. Tickets can be purchased online or the day of to watch a select group of student bands. Winners are selected by a panel of judges and by popular vote. In addition, local organizations that promote neurological health such as the Dementia Alliance, Gfeller Concussion Center at UNC, Duke Sports Concussion Center, WakeMed Concussion Program, the Poe Center, the Brain Injury Association of NC and the Triangle Aphasia Project will be on hand to share information. Food truck fare will also be available to further fuel the fun.

“Everyone can find something to enjoy,” says Fullbright. “Some people come out for the music, some come for the food, some just come to hang out.” Fullbright hopes that no matter why folks come, they leave with a good head on their shoulders.

1 p.m.; from $5; 723 St. Mary’s St.;