2 bands of Lyons Township High School students take top honors in state

Two bands comprised of Lyons Township High School students have taken top honors at the Illinois Battle of the Bands contest Aug. 16 in Springfield.

The first place winner is Trance made up of sophomores Ally Lubera, August Domanchuk, Nick Chomko, Jared Frank and Ryan Gorey.

Finishing second is Far-Sighted, initially a trio of Mitch Galgan, Christian Naval and Nathan Zawarski, who added Kyle Brooks for the statewide competition.

The two bands were among five finalists who each played a 25-minute set at the Illinois State Fair. The finalists won local and then regional contests from a field of 120 groups who performed in competitions sponsored by park districts or recreation departments across the state.

“I’m in shock. We just weren’t expecting that,” said guitarist Domanchuk, following Trance’s rise to the top. “The first year we didn’t place, last year we got third in Brookfield but didn’t go on, and this year we went all the way.”

Lubera, who plays guitar, keyboard and saxophone and sings, said making the finals and being surrounded by other bands with so much talent was an amazing experience. The varied musical tastes of Trance’s members were an asset in the contest, she said.

“Everyone in the band has different musical influences and different favorite genres, and we get to incorporate a lot of variety in our sets,” Lubera said. “I like acoustic pop and modern country, but I’ve developed a good appreciation for blues and rock.”

Frank, who sings and plays bass, said the final competition was “fun, but nerve-racking.”

“There was another band from LT, and they’re also very good. We were worried about what they were going to do,” he said. “It was a nail-biter.”

Gorey, the drummer, said learning to play the different styles and genres of fellow band members has made them all better musicians.

When asked if he was nervous for the finals, Gorey said he concentrated on performing his best to put on a great show, no matter what the outcome would be.

Domanchuk, who has played in various venues and for large crowds, said an unexpected setback from the band performing just ahead of Trance made him nervous.

“We were all packed up, all tuned up and ready to play when we learned we had to wait another 20 minutes,” he said. “The group before us invited every one of their supporters on stage, and the stage ended up collapsing with 40 people up there.”

But after performing well and hearing they had won, Domanchuk said he was able to relax and thoroughly enjoy playing two songs for an encore.

“I heard from all our friends and even the judges, they had never seen me smile that big and have such a good time,” he said. “It’s amazing when that pressure lifts off, you can end up having a good time.”

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