Burgers and Bands

The local nonprofit kicks off its fundraiser for suicide prevention.


Noel Eloff

Freshman Chase Martin performs alongside his bandmates Bella Holmes, Alex Eloff, and Dylan Freeman. Their band, Walk Ins Welcome, is one of the many Priddy Music Academy bands that were at the event. “It’s really nice to be able to perform with your band, but also be messing around with your friends at the same time,” Chase said. “Plus, we are supporting something great while doing it.”

Cassidy Martin, Guest Writer

Burgers and Bands held a fundraiser at the Byzantium of Annapolis in order to raise money for suicide prevention, where bands and musicians, many of them from Priddy Music Academy, performed on Sunday Oct. 17th.

With their slogan of ‘You are not alone,’ Burgers and Bands aids in fundraising for suicide prevention while breaking the stigma of mental health. They have been holding fundraising events since 2017 and have been providing mental health resources to the people and schools of the Severna Park community. Burgers and Bands has been working with schools directly to help fund mental health related resources for their students. In past years, they have given money to Severna Park High School in order to fund the S.T.A.R program, and have provided the money needed for additional training for counselors at Severna Park Middle School.  

“We do a lot of stuff to raise money for suicide prevention through food and fundraisers that are just fun to be at,” junior Emily Ferrence said. “It’s a good cause and it’s a good time.”

The event is held at the Severna Park Taphouse in the spring, but as the charity has grown, it has started having fall events hosted by the larger Byzantium Annapolis.  The next event is currently planned to be held in May of 2022 at the Severna Park Taphouse. From live music and food, to photo ops, a silent auction, and activities for children, there is never a shortage of things to do. The tents outside of the building function as an outdoor stage, so you can still hear musicians performing even if you are far from the indoor stage. Many of these performances are put on by local musicians and bands. The event partners with Priddy Music Academy, a local hotspot for instrument and voice lessons. Priddy Music Academy provides much of the musical entertainment at the event, as many of their students form bands and perform with each other. Freshman Owen Blackburn said “It’s really fun” playing at the venue. “I volunteer and I’m in a band.” 

Being a nonprofit, Burgers and Bands provides a great opportunity for students and others looking to volunteer locally. Volunteers are needed to help set up and run the program, both at the events and behind the scenes. Some of these volunteers are students at Severna Park High School. 

“You can go on the website to volunteer,” sophomore Athena Vangraeschepe said. “We also have student ambassador programs that you can sign up for on the website.”

The nonprofit was created by Ann Brennan and her son Ethan Brennan, after his struggles with mental health brought to light the lack of publicity the problem had, especially for a community with such a grim history on the topic. The two began walking to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and came up with an idea on how to help their community beyond a fundraising walk. With help from friends and family, the event became what it is today. The creation of Burgers and Bands has helped spread awareness and has raised thousands of dollars to help ensure that our community knows that they are not alone.

“I think it’s important, as a student, to be involved with things that you’re passionate about,” Ferrence said. “For me that’s Burgers and Bands. It’s important to me and I like helping out, it’s a good time, and it’s good work that we do.”