2010-04-23 / Community

‘Borough Of Kings’ Band Takes Firefighter Prize

Locals Win ‘The Battle Of The Bravest’
By Howard Schwach

The poster announcing the “Battle of the Bravest” Event The poster announcing the “Battle of the Bravest” Event John Burke has lived in Rockaway since the third grade and has achieved his two life desires – he is a New York City firefighter and he sings with an award-winning band.

Burke, a firefighter at Engine 137 at Beach 116 Street, sings with a band called “Borough of Kings,” which is made up of all Rockaway residents.

“This band has only been together for about a year, but we’ve been together for years,” the singer said. “The name is a nod to Brooklyn, where we all cut our teeth in the music business – at Brooklyn College.

Burke, who has been at the Rockaway firehouse since he got out of probie school years ago, told The Wave that “Borough of Kings” recently won the “Battle of the Bravest,” a competition in which the participating bands each had to have at least one firefighter. Burke joined Mike Biffer (guitarist), John Fabry (bass) and Jay Martin (drums) to form “Borough of Kings.

“The Borough of Kings,” recently won the “Battle of the Bravest” competition. Pictured, from left, John Burke, John Fabry, Mike Biffer and Jason Martin. “The Borough of Kings,” recently won the “Battle of the Bravest” competition. Pictured, from left, John Burke, John Fabry, Mike Biffer and Jason Martin. The contest was held on April 8 in Manhattan. A panel of judges, including many music industry experts, listened to the six competing bands and then chose “Borough of Kings” as the best. A large audience witnessed the contest, and all of the proceeds from the evening went to the New York Firefighter Burn Center at the Cornell Medical Center.

The band won a cash prize and free studio time in a Grammy-nominated facility in Manhattan. In addition, they won a chance to open for a national act that will be coming to New York City in the near future, although Burke declined to name the band for which they would be opening. “I’ve been singing and playing with bands since high school,” Burke said. “I’ve sung with a lot of local bands, including Wine with Sue, but nothing like this has ever happened.” “I’m really looking forward to opening for somebody great.”

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