History of Bananarama

Bananarama is sponsored by The Solitaire and has been going on for 15 years.

Bananarama is on Nov 15 at 7. Tickets are $5 at lunch and $7 at the door.

Aaron Moore

Bananarama is on Nov 15 at 7. Tickets are $5 at lunch and $7 at the door.

Bananarama has been a big deal throughout school history, but all popular things have humble beginnings. Every year, bands and soloist musicians alike have a chance on the stage, and every year spectators come to witness the performances. Bananarama has grown from a small show to a part of the school’s tradition, showing no signs of slowing down.

For the past 15 years, Bananarama has fallen in between October and November, while being sponsored by the school’s newspaper, “The Solitaire.” Bands flock to the stage to show off their talents to the whole school. This event unites all groups of students to rock out for a couple hours. But perhaps the most intriguing part about Bananarama is how it came to be.

Bananarama is full of school history and has been witnessed by multiple generations. For example, 2007’s Bananarama was very different from 2016’s, and within that time frame, the event has had multiple overseers. It all started in 2003 when English teacher, Mr. Kevin Mabie, made a banana “The Solitaire’s” mascot. Even though wearing a banana suit would be ridiculous enough to get any high schoolers’ attention, he chose a banana at random.

T-shirts were also printed with a common theme of a banana and the school newspaper successfully promoted themselves as an easy going and more fun organization. But things were not always fun and games for the group of journalists. The amount of money they had was running very scarce and instead of having a normal fundraiser, they pulled their heads together to do something different. Even though it did not have a name, the concert event was held for the first time in the Spring of 2003. Throughout the following years, the theme of bananas has always been present, and therefore the festival was dubbed “Bananarama.”

Bananarama has not always been the same festival for the past decade. Over the years things have changed, but the core experience has always stayed the same.

“There are a lot of new things we’re trying this year,” creative director Kamy Smelser said. “Instead of having MCs come out and introduce the bands, we’re going to be interviewing all of them with a video and we’re going to put them up on the projector. That way the bands can introduce themselves.”

Removing the announcers themselves might seem like a trivial change, but it changes the flow of the show in a variety of ways. In past years, members of the school newspaper would come out onto the stage to crack jokes to introduce the acts. With a one on one interview with a band, the audience can get a deeper look into what the band is about and what they are going for.

Another exciting change coming to the concert this year is the inclusion of special-ed students in their own performances. This idea was brought to the table by creative director Audrey Bockhorst, so her and Smelser ran with it.

“Audrey told me about how there is a program in band for them, so we thought we’d get a couple of the kids to perform at the show,” Smelser said.

If the special-ed program were to participate in Bananarama 2018, it will be the first show in 15 years to showcase the talents of special needs students.

“ [Audrey and I] went into this year wanting Bananarama to be different,” Smelser said.

There are rumors of the age-old “banana suit” returning to advertise this year’s show, along with many welcoming changes, Bananarama will be held on Nov. 15, 2018, in the school auditorium. Be there or be square.