The St. Bernard High School “Viking Band” has captured second place in a national Battle of the Bands video contest sponsored by VH-1’s Save the Music Foundation and

The Viking Band students were among 6,000 teens nationwide who submitted videos in the fight to keep music education in schools and about the importance of music in their lives, a school spokesperson said. The Viking Band’s song entry, “I’ll Try” was chosen as one of the top five prize winners, earning $1,000 and several guitars for the school’s music program.

According to the song’s writer Chad Watson, a graduating senior, “The song is about our individual struggles in life, and how we need to try hard despite the obstacles that get in our way.”

The Playa del Rey high school’s Viking Band is lead by saxophonist and educator Joel Bowers, who has been directing the small school ensemble for three years.

“In March, I saw the public service announcement featuring Nick Jonas on VH-1 and knew right away that this was a great opportunity for the band to perform Chad’s tune, with its positive message, and at the same time draw some attention to our own struggling music department,” Bowers explained.

Peter Sobat, St. Bernard High film and video instructor and an entertainment industry professional, developed the visual idea for the music video. In collaboration with the Viking Choir’s director McCain Treat, an international recording vocalist, Bowers, the Viking Band and the Viking News Network team of students, the music video was filmed, edited and created in the school’s digital media production studio.

Also featured in the “I’ll Try” music video are soloist Anthony Fortes Membrila, senior; freshman guitarist Vince Villafan; senior bassist Tojo Logo; junior drummer Marcus Davis; senior keyboardist Kameron Banks; junior flutist Patrick Lynch; and senior keyboardist Bryce Metcalf. The chorus was made up of members from the Viking Choir and news team.

To view the winning video, visit the school’s Web site and click on the link at

A panel of expert judges including representatives from VH1, EMI Music, CBS Radio, and Rolling Stone magazine selected the finalists. Each original entry was evaluated based on creativity, strength of argument, and overall participation to determine the winners.