Trinity’s Rockin’ Ryan Barry Wows ‘Em in Vegas

Ryan Barry a resident at Trinity Services' Prairie Trail at the Landings in New Lenox and a Loew's employee, took Best in Show in the rock category of a Loew's-sponsored competition in Las Vegas. Barry used YouTube to teach himself to play guitar.
Ryan Barry a resident at Trinity Services' Prairie Trail at the Landings in New Lenox and a Loew's employee, took Best in Show in the rock category of a Loew's-sponsored competition in Las Vegas. Barry used YouTube to teach himself to play guitar.

Ten years ago, Ryan Barry, a talented middle school track and cross-country runner, taught himself to play the guitar.

“I never took guitar lessons,” said Barry. “I watched YouTube videos and learned to play by ear.”

Immediately, Barry fell in love with heavy metal, sounds that are intense, virtuosic and powerful. The first song he learned was “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin.

Determined to become a rock guitarist, Barry gave up sports and began playing every day, proficient enough by 2014 to play “Thunderstuck,” a song by AC/DC, in front of a high school pep rally.

“That was my first time playing in front of an audience,” said Barry with a smile. “The experience blew me away.”

Since August of 2020, Barry has been receiving services and supports from Trinity Services. Erin McLaughlin, who runs the community program Barry participates in every week, praises Barry’s hard work and determination.

“He is very talented,” McLaughlin said. “We are all proud of his work ethic.”

Today, Barry lives independently at Prairie Trail at the Landings, a Trinity apartment complex in New Lenox. In 2021, Trinity Services assisted Barry in getting a position at Loew’s, a job he enjoys and where he quickly made friends.

Last December a buddy from work, Dennis, who knew Barry played the guitar, told him about the “Loew’s Has Talent” competition, a contest for employees and an opportunity for an all-expenses-paid trip to the Lowe’s national sales meeting in Las Vegas.

The trip included a chance to perform in front of a live audience of 5,000 people. For his audition, Barry produced a two-minute video featuring his original guitar solo of the National Anthem. He even played the guitar behind his head.

In January, the Lowe’s manager told Barry he would represent the entire Midwest region at the Loew’s Has Talent competition. Barry flew out to Las Vegas in early February, met by family members and Loew’s’ staff at the airport.

Barry immediately began rehearsals to learn the song, “Right Now” by Van Halen, with the band he would perform with on stage.

“It took some time to learn the song,” said Barry. “However, once I learned it by ear, everything just clicked, and I was ready to rock!”

The night of the performance, Barry arrived at the big venue with an attitude that he was going to “rock the house.”

The positivity paid off. Playing lead guitar in a group that included rhythm and bass guitars, keyboard, drums and singers, Barry was definitely in his element. When it came time for his guitar solo, Barry was ready. He rocked the house with his exceptional guitar playing. The crowd went wild.

Afterwards, Barry learned he had won Best in Show for the rock music genre.

“I was so excited,” he said. “It was a total professional set-up, and I had a chance to do what I love in front of a packed auditorium.”

Barry hopes his top showing in the Loew’s Has Talent competition will lead to other gigs. In the meantime, he is happy to continue playing his guitar and getting better and better.

Story and photos provided by Trinity Services.

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