Geneva vocalist wins Suburban Chicago's Got Talent

The fourth time proved to be the charm for San Star Sandberg to finally win Suburban Chicago's Got Talent.

The vocalist and 2015 graduate of Geneva High School persevered after being named a finalist each year in the summer talent competition, which she first entered in 2012.

"I've done tons of talent shows and this is by far my favorite. I like all the rounds and there's a lot of performance opportunities that come with it," said Sandberg, who is slated to make an appearance during the 8 a.m. hour of ABC 7 Eyewitness News Sunday Morning.

Sandberg shared the stage with other vocalists, singer-songwriters and an award-winning tap dancer - Brianne Cannataro of Schaumburg - for Suburban Chicago's Got Talent's free Top 10 finalist concert hosted by Rob Pileckis at the Taste of Arlington Heights in Harmony Park on Saturday.

Wearing a shimmery sheer skirt and an embossed V-pattern halter top, Sandberg delivered a vocal workout covering Melanie Martinez's 2015 pop song "Pity Party" - a modern-day riff on Lesley Gore's 1963 hit "It's my Party." Sandberg also performed an encore of Melissa McBride's "A Broken Wing" after being named the winner by Arlington Heights Mayor Thomas Hayes.

The family band Fenced In received the most votes to win Suburban Chicago's Got Talent's "Fan Favorite" prize, which is cumulatively decided upon by visitors to the Daily Herald's website after the competition's previous Top 20, Top 15 and Top 10 performance rounds held at the Prairie Center for the Arts in Schaumburg.

  Members of the band Fenced In are presented with the Fan Favorite award from Andrea Biwer, director of strategic partnerships at Daily Herald Media Group, at this year's Suburban Chicago's Got Talent competition in Arlington Heights. Bob Chwedyk/

"We didn't expect it," said Fenced In band member Meghan Foley of Villa Park. "But we're really excited that so many people supported us."

The Fan Favorite winner was a repeat of sorts, because Foley won the same prize last year as a solo singer-songwriter. For this year's competition, Foley teamed up with her younger sister, Caitlin, and her Lombard percussionist cousin, Dominic Giase, to form their own band to perform original material.

For the finale, Fenced In shared the band's first song, a ballad about a girl reluctantly falling in love called "Truth Is."

The judges making the ultimate call were Onesti Entertainment President and CEO Ron Onesti, Prospect High School Dean of Students Lisa Soukup and Schaumburg Park District Cultural Arts Supervisor Beth Waller. It must have been a tough call, as the drum and dance troupe The Pack Drumline based in Bolingbrook appeared poised to win based upon past electrifying performances filled with pounding wall-of-sound percussion and exacting choreographed moves featuring swirling cymbals and backup dancers.

  The Pack Drumline, from Bollingbrook, perform at the Suburban Chicago's Got Talent finale Saturday in Arlington Heights. Bob Chwedyk/

"The Pack Drumline really brought so much to the competition - they brought up everybody's game," Onesti said. "That being said, (San Star Sandberg) and her growth was the most impressive. She did everything we as judges asked, she did everything from a professional standpoint, and that's why we think she had probably one of the best shots at going pro."

  This year's winner of Suburban Chicago's Got Talent, San Star Sandberg, performs her act in front of a packed house at the finale Saturday in Arlington Heights. Bob Chwedyk/

As the grand prize winner, Sandberg receives a "STARter Kit" valued at about $5,000. It includes the chance to open for a national headline act at the Arcada Theatre in St. Charles and to perform at Schaumburg's Septemberfest. It also features career mentoring by Onesti Entertainment and professional video and still photo shoots of a live performance and production.

  Fan Favorite Fenced In perform to the Taste of Arlington Heights crowd Saturday. Bob Chwedyk/

This year's Fan Favorite prize is an entertainment package with gift cards from local restaurants, theaters and attractions valued at more than $600.

Suburban Chicago's Got Talent is co-sponsored by the Daily Herald, Onesti Entertainment, the Prairie Center for the Arts in Schaumburg, the Arlington Heights Chamber of Commerce, Amita Health, Valli Produce, Salon Lorrene and Zeigler Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Schaumburg.

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