District 97 is the only Progressive Rock and Metal band in the world to feature an American Idol finalist and a Chicago Symphony Orchestra virtuoso cellist. The band was initially formed in the Fall of 2006 by drummer Jonathan Schang, keyboardist Rob Clearfield, bassist Patrick Mulcahy and guitarist Sam Krahn. The foursome from Chicago soon began creating a captivating blend of Progressive Rock, Metal, Classical and Jazz reminiscent of Planet X and other no-holds barred Instrumental Rock groups.
They honed their skills for a year before deciding the right vocalist was needed to complement their sound. Their search led to 2007 American Idol Top 10 Female Finalist, Leslie Hunt. With a look, sound and stage presence comparable to a young Ann Wilson from Heart, Leslie's dynamic performances pushed the band into a new direction that forged a unique marriage between accessible, catchy vocal melodies and an adventurous instrumental prowess. After attending a show and being highly impressed, Katinka Kleijn, cellist extraordinaire from the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra, joined the band. She was followed shortly thereafter by one of Chicago's finest young guitarists, Jim Tashjian, who took over when Sam Krahn departed. With this new lineup of peerless musicianship in place, District 97 began wowing crowds and establishing a devoted fanbase through packed shows at legendary Chicago venues such as House of Blues, Schubas and Martyrs'. In November 2008, the band entered Chicago's In Vault Lab recording studio to begin work on what would become their debut effort, "Hybrid Child." Working in tandem with two of Chicago's best engineers, Manny Sanchez and Chris Harden (Billy Corgan, Fallout Boy, Umphey's Mcgee etc.), the album balances a meticulous attention to detail and studio-craft with the visceral power of a rock band that is firing on all cylinders. Running the gamut from Meshuggah-inspired Metal, the epic majesty of Yes, and the melodicism of the Beatles, "Hybrid Child" unveils District 97 as a true force to be reckoned with, and one that is poised to take the music world by storm. With fans ranging from high school students to world-class musicians, it appears this process is well underway