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Manlius: First-ever battle of bands draws large crowd in Manlius

Local rock stars lured hundreds out to the village pavilion by the Swan Pond in Manlius Thursday June 21 for the first-ever Manlius Battle of the Bands. Five local bands competed for the grand prize: A recording session with SubCat Records, the Syracuse area's up-and-coming record label.

Kristy Vossler, a member of the Manlius Teen Task Force, which organized the concert, said they didn't even have to promote -- kids heard about it through bulletins and invitations on the popular social networking sites Facebook and Myspace.

Vossler said they picked last Thursday because students had just finished school or come home from college; the event was a good way for kids from different social groups and age ranges to mingle.

"We [the Teen Task Force] really just threw this together a couple weeks ago," Vossler said. "We chose this weekend because it's graduation weekend and everyone just finished school."

The Manlius Teen Task Force is a think tank consisting of members from different churches, the village board and CLIC -- a community learning and information center that promotes educational activities. The task force is charged with devising with safe and fun community events for local kids. The concert, which drew swarms of people to the Swan Pond was hosted by Paul Mench, science teacher and varsity football coach from F-M High School.

The winner of the battle was decided on two forums -- a panel of judges, and the crowd. Audience members could cast their vote American Idol-style by purchasing wristbands on behalf of their favorite bands. The wristbands were tallied as votes, and a panel of judges decided on the winner based on the tally. Vossler said this made for a more balanced decision since the crowd was allowed to contribute to the judge's final decision.

The first place winner was Vapor Aevum, a five-piece indie band started by guitarist Blaine Vossler and singer Nick Massa around 2000. Vapor Aevum has played shows all around the CNY region and beyond, and is slated to perform as part of Music and Art Over Syracuse, a six-day event starting Monday July 9 at the Mezzanote Lounge featuring 80 different local and regional bands, artists and DJs.

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