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Young Elmira rockers revel in competition win

Stained Glass Army bandmates Trevor Bowman (bass), Mitchell McCloy (guitar), Kyle Wilton (vocals) and Carter Leis (drums) steamrolled the competition in a series of Toronto shows at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club. Last weekend, a win earned them prizes that includes recording time in a Quebec studio. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]

Stained Glass Army now gets chance to showcase their music to a much wider audience

Stained Glass Army bandmates Trevor Bowman (bass), Mitchell McCloy (guitar), Kyle Wilton (vocals) and Carter Leis (drums) steamrolled the competition in a series of Toronto shows at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club. Last weekend, a win earned them prizes that includes recording time in a Quebec studio.[Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
Stained Glass Army bandmates Trevor Bowman (bass), Mitchell McCloy (guitar), Kyle Wilton (vocals) and Carter Leis (drums) steamrolled the competition in a series of Toronto shows at the Virgin Mobile Mod Club. Last weekend, a win earned them prizes that includes recording time in a Quebec studio. [Elena Maystruk / The Observer]
A still-unexplained invite to take part in a competition in Toronto has netted Elmira band Stained Glass Army a chance to showcase their music to a wider audience.

The bandmates – lead singer Kyle Wilton, bassist Trevor Bowman, drummer Carter Leis and guitarist Mitchell McCloy – ended up winning the Landmark Events competition held last weekend at Toronto’s Mod Club.

Stained Glass Army (SGA) couldn’t believe their luck when an invitation of a lifetime came out of the blue late last summer.

“Oh, it was a huge deal. We were contacted late summer, the guy asked us to play in this preliminary round at the Mod Club and we made it past that and we played again on the weekend and we won. It was a big deal,” said Wilton.

A win against several Ontario bands and artists after several competitions culminated in last weekend’s show and dropped global distribution, a non-exclusive licensing contract and publicity campaign into the band’s lap.

SGA will travel to Quebec in the spring for a showcase concert, sending their material and press kit to a major or indie record label of choice. In addition, the boys will rub shoulders with Glen Robinson – a producer/engineer who’s worked with a long list of artists, from Keith Richards to the Beach Boys, The Ramones to Dave Grohl – during 36 hours of recording time.

Though the schoolmates have played a number of shows around Waterloo Region – appearing regularly at the Central Tavern in Elmira – the competition offered the first chance to play in Toronto. Now, they’ll be travelling farther still.

“We played a few shows, a few competitions, but none like that, never in Toronto either,” said McCloy.

Landmark Events is an artist development organization that runs shows for emerging talent in Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Kingston and Toronto with the goal of helping emerging artists of all creeds make it to the charts.

How the band got invited is still a bit of a mystery. Bowman, Leis and McCloy were in practice when they received an e-mail from organizers.

“It was just us three and we were watching a video and we saw the email and were like ‘uuuuum,’ ” said Bowman of the surprise.

“You were supposed to apply and send in a clip of your music or something like that, but we actually got contacted. We’re not exactly sure how,” Wilton said.

Despite the demands of school, extracurricular interests and families, the music plays a big part in all four of their lives, but that’s fine because the craft also encompasses the people closest to the band.

“Band is family for us as well. We all love each other’s parents, we all know them. We do put in a lot of time before and after school,” said Wilton.

McCloy chimed in, “We all have four families, basically.”

The strong support comes from not only families but also friends. SGA sold more than 100 tickets at the Mod Club as local fans streamed in to see the boys play.

“At that point it was just a dream that we would even make it to the finals let alone win and get to go to Montreal and play. Now I guess that dream kind of came true,” Wilton said.

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