Music on a mission

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First Posted: 5/18/2014

It’s no secret that music is an amazing thing.

It sets good moods, demolishes bad ones, acts as a universal language, and is just all-around entertaining. It should come as no surprise as we roll into Memorial Day weekend that such an art is making a major difference in many ways for members of the Armed Forces, both locally and around the globe.

Music has a history within the military all its own – is there any other arrangement of notes that elicits such a strong emotional response as the bugle call “Taps?” Nowadays, music is being used to help in terms of therapy for military members and their families, as evidenced by the recently published “Music Therapy and Military Populations: A Status Report and Recommendations on Music Therapy Treatment, Programs, Research, and Practice Policy” by the American Music Therapy Association, a study that discusses the profession of music therapy with a focus on both active duty service members and veterans.

Through such a report, we get a glimpse of programs like the Overcoming Adversity and Stress Injury Support Program in San Diego, 10 weeks of rehabilitation that includes music making, lyric interpretation, songwriting, and therapeutic instrumental musical performance as part of the process. Wisconsin-based Iraq veteran Jason Moon works with his music therapist Shep Crumrine to help not only himself, but other veterans through his songwriting and performances at the VA Creative Arts Festival and through his nonprofit, Warrior Songs.

While these shining examples can be seen everywhere, it’s important to note the work being done right here at home. From the seventh annual MayDay Music Festival to a local vocalist who is taking her talents on the road to lift spirits, music is proving to be an enormous help to military members and their families, from one note to the next.


It’s seven years in and Sector One Entertainment is still growing the MayDay Music Festival, a gathering of the greatest talents the area has to offer that sends proceeds to a local cause.

“We’ve rebranded the Hip Hop stage as the Hip Hop and Reggae stage now. We’ve brought back the Freedom Stage, which took a break last year. Our kid’s section has new things going on, there are a lot of new talents, there’s going to be a live mural…” And so went Rich Perry’s thought process, firing off all the new things MayDay is up to, a testament to just how hard the Sector One crew has been working since the close of last year’s event.

Perry, who goes by Diesis-I on stage, has noted in the past that Sector One’s own expansion to cover all aspects of music, art, and culture has also helped MayDay grow. The group of entertainers nails down Memorial Day weekend of every year as a time to bring the community together to not only celebrate what the local arts and entertainment scene has to offer, but to raise money for the Family Readiness Group of the deployed G Co 228/1st-109 FA, located in Kingston. There seems to be no better way to keep in the spirit of the holiday weekend than to do it through a form of art.

“Music is energetic; it’s a thriving pulse,” Perry described. “You can convey positive messages and enjoyment through it, no matter what style of music it is.”

The music that will carry each stage through the weekend ranges from dubstep to EDM to reggae, and Perry said there are a lot of fresh faces to be seen this time around.

“We try to up the caliber of talent every year. And not only that, but people who have been doing this year after year are now saying, ‘Let me hop on this stage or that stage,’ so they’re trying something new for themselves and for people to see.”

Outside of the music there will also be local talents like Riot Hooping and Aerial Dance from Kingston and newcomer Lotus Pug Yoga, which is stationed in downtown Wilkes-Barre. Lotus Pug will travel from stage to stage throughout the weekend, hosting a music flow yoga class at each.

As always, MayDay is a family affair, and Perry said that the children’s section is amped up even more this year.

“We’ve had games and face painting, which we’ll have again, and we have a bounce house, puppet show, scavenger hunt. I believe one or two local authors are even going to come and read.”

Perry noted that live poets and comedians may also grace some of the stages at this year’s event.

Lake Lehman art teacher Jenna Casaldi will be on hand to run a live mural all weekend, a chance for people of all ages to stop by and participate and paint what they want.

The hard work pays off each year for Sector One, as MayDay is a growing success, but what Perry said really matters are where the proceeds for the event go to, the Family Readiness Group.

“They only get so much money a year, so for us to be able to donate this to them is really special,” he said. “In the past, we did an official presentation of the check to them, and they were so appreciative. They were not expecting what we gave to them. And you know what? They help us out. They’re the ones that year after year give us tents, put up things like tanks in Kirby Park for everyone to see. It’s a great relationship we have with them, and they’re a great organization.”

The 109th Field Artillery has been in existence since 1775, having battle streamers from the American Revolution, Civil War, and both World Wars. It was initially called the 24th Connecticut Infantry regiment, a unit that was to defend Connecticut settlements of the Wyoming Valley from Pennsylvanians.

The current location on Market Street in Kingston was built in 1923, a building that housed soldiers, cannons, horses, mules and other equipment. The floors were dirt to allow horses and riders to be trained, and the bays served as stables and work areas.


Her signature bright red, long-braided hair can be seen swinging around many a local stage with acts M80 and Headbanger’s Ball, and though Jane Train loves such shows, she’s discovered another type of performance that makes her elated.

“I would be happy the rest of my life if I just did military touring,” the musical frontwoman said.

Train and her Headbanger’s Ball crew will be doing just that beginning May 22 on a tour that will take them to Thule Air Base in Greenland, Guantanamo Bay; and Honduras.

This isn’t the first go-round for Train, who performed her first-ever show for the troops with M80 in Thule, and that’s when she was hooked.

“Years ago, I had a musician friend mention how he tours with some artists on the USO type of tours and gets to go to many exotic locations. I love traveling almost as much as music, so to combine these two worlds together would be the ultimate for me,” Train said of her initial interest.

M80 went to Greenland for a nine-day tour at Thule Air Base around New Year’s Eve. It was then that Train saw beyond her original reasons for doing such shows, thanks to a tour around the base.

“They don’t just roll you in and you play and that’s the end of it. They showed us what they do there.” She paused to take a breath. “They have a satellite tracker that basically watches the world. I mean, Russia can’t throw a pencil in the air without these guys knowing. All of a sudden, I started to really learn (about) these people, who are up there on the North Pole, in total darkness or total light, freezing temperatures. They’re watching the world and keeping us safe. That was the first time that it hit me that these people really give their lives for us.”

Train said she doesn’t come from a military family (“My father was in the Army, but the Army Band, so I don’t think he ever held a rifle, just a trombone,” she said with a chuckle), so she had no idea what to expect.

“They are such disciplined and strong people, men and women, and it was amazing to me.

“I think it’s important for people who don’t come from military families, whether they’re musicians or not, to be aware of what these people actually do.”

Playing a show for the troops is unlike anything else according to Train, who is continually blown away by the high energy of every single show for troops she’s played.

“They’re so into the fact that it’s from home. They miss their families. We’re here bringing in American music and they go mental,” she enthused. “It’s amazing. I can say that almost every show that we’ve done for the military, I end up stage diving and crowd surfing. It gets that nuts.”

Train also noted during her travels just how important music is to military members.

“I was very surprised in Kosovo where, on the base, you had your basic stores – but then there was this music shop. I didn’t expect that, and it made me realize how important something like that is, and how these men and women could be musicians, too.”

Even beyond this tour, Train will continue to look for opportunities to bring music to the troops.

“They are so appreciative,” she said, “and it’s so important to give the troops something to boost their spirits. Going into this tour, at the forefront now is, ‘I can’t wait to give to the troops.’ They don’t get entertainment every week, and they deserve that release. And, for us, it’s always guaranteed to be a great time.”


MayDay music schedule

(Stop by the Open Mic Stage between noon and 8 p.m. both days for music and sign-ups.)

May 24

Main Stage

Noon: Jon & Kate + Fate

1 p.m.: O V A

2 p.m.: Harlot

3 p.m.: Zamani

4 p.m.: Deva Loka

5 p.m.: I Am Buffalo

6 p.m.: Soul Shadows

7 p.m.: Dustin Drevitch & The Electric Gentlemen

8 p.m.: The Woody Browns Project

Hip Hop & Reggae Stage

Noon: Evil Bee

1 p.m.: Inadreem

2 p.m.: Brandon Stuch

2:30 p.m.: S.P.U.D.

3 p.m.: Basixx b2b Aspect

4 p.m.: Holla da Scholar 7 Diesis-I

4:30 p.m.: Tracie

5:30 p.m.: Timothy Biggins

6 p.m.: George Wesley’s Small Axe Orchestra

7 p.m.: Penpal

Dubstep Stage

Noon: Kai-Lo

1 p.m.: Doc Rasta

2 p.m.: Shakenbake

3 p.m.: Nobi

4 p.m.: SRK

5 p.m.: TPB

6 p.m.: Deemed Dubs

7 p.m.: One Call System

Drum & Bass Stage

Noon: MC Diesis-I, FWD Crew

1:15 p.m.: MASDIK

2:15 p.m.: Dat’skat

3:30 p.m.: Waxwerk

4:45 p.m.: Stepkinetic

6 p.m.: Trixx

7:15 p.m.: Aspect

Freedom Stage

Noon: Alfie

1 p.m.: Mad Soul

2 p.m.: Big McJunior

3 p.m.: Nasstronaut

4 p.m.: Newpy Hundo

5 p.m.: Gary Jamze

6 p.m.: Rawstin

7 p.m.: Michael Berry

House/EDM Stage

Noon: DJ Marquis

1 p.m.: Men-Ji

2 p.m.: Epikrew

3 p.m.: Hostyle

4 p.m.: Pat Giambra

5 p.m.: Tantrum

6 p.m.: Inadreem

7 p.m.: Zero Three


May 25

Main Stage

Noon: Zayre Mountain

1 p.m.: Hybrid Sessions

2 p.m.: Cherokee Red

3 p.m.: County Lines

4 p.m.: The Lonelies

5 p.m.: Katie Kelly & The Charming Beards

6 p.m.: Ol’ Cabbage

7 p.m.: Suze

8 p.m.: Flux Capacitor

Hip Hop & Reggae Stage

Noon: DJ Hersh

1 p.m.: One Call System

2 p.m.: Robb Brown & The Afternoon Family Jam

2:45 p.m.: Kai-Lo

3:30 p.m.: Ben Hostyle

4 p.m.: Hometown Heroes

4:30 p.m.: Abstract Peoples

5:30 p.m.: Randyskilz

6:30 p.m.: Justin Mazer & Friends

Dubstep Stage

Noon: Lancer-X B2B Waffles

1 p.m.: PenPal

2 p.m. Selector Boof

3 p.m.: JayZero

4 p.m.: S0ulF1rE

5 p.m.: Dub Savage

6 p.m.: Lt. Smash

7 p.m.: Kellen-303

Drum & Bass Stage

11 a.m.: MC K-One

Noon: Trippen

1 p.m.: Randyskilz

2:15 p.m.: Illapse

3:30 p.m.: Deejay Geoffro

4:45 p.m.: Encee-Fusion

6 p.m.: Valdee

7:15 p.m.: Basixx

Freedom Stage

Noon: Bobb Mac

1 p.m.: Kyle Burton

2 p.m.: Evil Bee

3 p.m.: Nick Spaceman

4 p.m.: Greg W

5 p.m.: Walt Luke

6 p.m.: Star City Disco

7 p.m.: Bruce Morris

House/EDM Stage

Noon: Mr. X

12:30 p.m.: DJ K-Wak

1:30 p.m.: Ryan Kenton

2:30 p.m.: The Neil

3:30 p.m.: DJ Deviate

4:30 p.m.: DC Ten

5:30 p.m.: Caliente

6:30 p.m.: Synthetic Hysterics