These Inward Trials

Band Biography

Ryan Bankert and Walter Kondratowski met in their freshmen year of college. Through their common love for Jesus and playing/writing music, they quickly became friends - learning from one another and challenging each other toward musical awesomeness and spiritual maturity. While they both shared the dream of one day writing music that would change the world, they separated to answer God's call to local church ministry.

After several years apart they had seemingly moved on with their lives. Both had met their wives, started families, and were serving their local churches as Worship Leaders. While at work, however, Ryan felt led to contact Walter about rekindling and pursuing the dream they had shared in college. It was at this time they decided to seriously begin a new ministry with the gifts God had given them. This new venture would be called Against the Slate.

As Against the Slate began to grow in scope and influence, Ryan and Walter felt the need to find new musicians to help bring their music to the next level. Naturally, they went to the source from whence all great musicians are found - Craigslist. 

Trevor Vaughan, a blazingly gifted lead guitarist (who was blowing minds and changing hearts at his church), answered their ad. He had also been involved in worship bands all of his musical life, but was looking to add something outside the church walls to his ministry. Trevor joined ATS in the summer of 2013 and soon became an integral part of the band. Recently, through Trevor's networking prowess, Jacob Velazquez (another local church musician) joined the band in 2014. Jake is a formidable drummer and has become the bedrock on which all of ATS's songs stand firm. 

Against the Slate's desire is to reach both secular and sacred communities with songs that share their struggle against sin and the hope they have found in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, partnering with New Vine Media, Against the Slate is making a difference for Christ in their local communities by sharing their songs and the stories behind them. Seeking, above all, to make Jesus famous.

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Ryan Bankert:

Originally from Lancaster PA, Ryan started his musical journey at the age of 5 when his parents encouraged him to take piano lessons. This continued until the age of 14 when he asked his parents for a guitar and lessons. They acquiesced and the rest is, as they say, history. Two years later, he set his sights on playing Bass in his high school’s jazz band and soon Bass also fell as his conquest.  

As if piano, guitar, and bass were not enough, Ryan is an equally gifted vocalist. In high school, Ryan starred in several musicals such as Fiddler On The Roof and Oklahoma. In college, Ryan participated in the Community Choir, the Chorale, and the elite Chamber Singers. As a part of ATS, Ryan has also shown his talents as a song-writer. 

In 2005 he began volunteering his gifts as a Bass player at Hope Church in Nazareth, PA. He began leading worship there in 2007. Not long after this, Ryan had a vision while he was at work. The vision was of himself as a part of a band playing music before a sea of faceless people. It was this vision which resulted in the formation of Against the Slate.   

Ryan currently resides in Allentown, PA with his beautiful wife Sally and their three boys. Ryan enjoys spending time with his family and wrestling with his boys and their dog - a golden retriever named Tank. Ryan plays Martin guitars and Jimmy T basses.  

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Trevor Vaughan IV:

Trevor grew up in Pittsburgh, PA. Based on his interest in becoming a drummer, his parents bought him an electronic drum pad when he was 13. It was at this point that Trevor started down the drummer path - taking lessons, purchasing his first kit, and jamming with his guitar-playing friend. He and his friend shared a love of guitar-driven music, and spent much of their time trying to recreate the guitar sounds of their favorite artists.

Becoming a student of tone led Trevor to pick up the guitar in addition to drums. He played drums in his church worship band, but was unable to stifle the guitar hero that awoke within. While at college, the spacial issues of dorm life completed Trevor’s transformation to guitarist. Trevor is still an extremely capable drummer, but he shines brightest while playing guitar.

Trevor has been performing in bands of varying genres since he was 18, but God has always brought him back to music that glorifies Him. While browsing Craigslist ads, God's providence led him to Against the Slate's post seeking a lead guitarist. Trevor has been part of ATS ever since.

Trevor works and plays guitar at First Presbyterian Church of Allentown. He has been married to his amazing, beautiful wife Steph since 2012; they live in Emmaus, PA. Trevor’s interests include the Pittsburgh Steelers and Penguins, smoking meat, and craft breweries. Trevor plays Gibson and Fender guitars.

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Walter Kondratowski:

Born and raised in New Jersey, Walter began his musical journey strumming along to his favorite artists on tennis rackets. It was not until middle school, however, when a friend taught him his first few guitar chords, that Walter realized becoming a musician was within reach. This encounter not only led to Walter’s love for the guitar, but also opened the door to singing and writing songs. 

When Walter’s father noticed his ability, he encouraged his son to play in church which led to Walter’s first opportunities to perform and lead corporate worship. Walter has ministered as a Youth Pastor and a Christian high school teacher; in 2008 he took his first worship leader position which has since blossomed into vocational ministry. Walter is currently leading worship at Pequea Church in Lancaster, PA.

Walter interacts with the world through writing songs. Times of both trial and blessing are represented in his music. His greatest desire is to see the songs he has written be used by God to change hearts and save lives. Being a part of the band Against the Slate and working alongside New Vine Media is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

And speaking of dreams coming true, Walter has been married to his lovely wife Kristin since 2006; they have four daughters. Walter's interests outside of his church and his band begin and end with his family, but he also has been known to enjoy reading good books, listening to sports talk radio, and deal-hunting at Guitar Center. Walter plays Taylor, Gibson, and Fender guitars. 
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