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Newsday’s Battle of the Bands winner, Oak & Ash, to open for Bon Jovi at MSG

Long Island's Oak & Ash, winners of Newsday's inaugural Battle of the Bands Contest, perform their new single, "Step Into the Light." This music video, which the band received as the contest prize, was filmed in September in The Paramount's Founder's Room in Huntington and at Newsday's headquarters in Melville. Oak & Ash is: Rich Tuorto (lead vocals), Chris Tuorto (lead guitar), Bryan Garbe (drums), Paul Gramigna (bass). Credit: Newsday Staff

Looks like the right band won the battle as Newsday’s 2016 Battle of the Bands champion Oak & Ash captured another victory.

The group, whose lead singer, Rich Tuorto, comes from New Hyde Park, scored an opening slot on night one of Bon Jovi’s two-night stand at Madison Square Garden. Due to the band's lead battling bronchitis, Bon Jovi postponed its April 7 and April 8 shows. Tickets for the group's Friday concert will be honored on Thursday, April 13, and tickets for its Saturday show will be honored on Saturday, April 15.

Promoter Live Nation and Bon Jovi’s management chose Oak & Ash (April 13) as well as Dylan Rockoff of Boston (April 15) from thousands who applied for the contest on Bon Jovi’s website ( The band has been running similar contests for other communities on its “This House Is Not For Sale Tour.”

After the results were announced, Oak & Ash released the following collective statement: “This is easily one of the best moments of our lives. Musicians only dream of having an opportunity like this and we feel so truly blessed to have been recognized among all of the other incredibly talented artists. Thank you to Bon Jovi and to everyone else who was involved with this contest. We won’t let you down!”

This is not the first band with Long Island ties to win a contest to open for Bon Jovi. Back in 1995, the teenage band Stage, featuring Ryan Star of Dix Hills, was the support act for the New Jersey rock band at Jones Beach Theater.

In the Newsday contest, Oak & Ash’s song “Golden Gates” stood out among 80 other artists in August. The band won a Newsday-produced music video for its song, “Step Into the Light,” which was shot at The Paramount in Huntington in September.

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