Dis­abled man to Jam­boxx the an­them

Lo­cal quad­ri­plegic man to play at Val­leyCats game

The Record (Troy, NY) - - FRONT PAGE -

TROY, N.Y. » A lo­cal quad­ri­plegic man will play the na­tional an­them on the “air gui­tar” be­fore Satur­day’s Tri- City Val­leyCats game us­ing a mu­si­cal de­vice he cre­ated to over­come his dis­abil­ity.

Dave Whalen, 56, of Sco­tia, N.Y. has been par­a­lyzed from the neck down since a ski ac­ci­dent at age 19.

At 7 p.m. on June 16, Whalen will per­form The Star Span­gled Ban­ner on a Jam­boxx be­fore the Val­leyCats’ sec­ond home game of the sea­son against the Ver­mont Lake Mon­sters at the Joseph L. Bruno Sta­dium in Troy

Jam­boxx is a har­mon­ica-like de­vice that at­taches to a computer and al­lows peo­ple with lim­ited mo­bil­ity to cre­ate mu­sic with their breath. Mov­ing the mouth­piece left or right de­ter­mines which note is played.

Be­cause he does not have the use of his hands, Whalen uses the Jam­boxx’s hands-free bracket.

True air gui­tar an­them

The Jam­boxx is an elec­tric syn­the­sizer that can play any in­stru­ment, in­clud­ing pi­ano, sax­o­phone, vi­o­lin, and drums. Whalen will have his Jam­boxx set to play the na­tional an­them on elec­tric gui­tar this Satur­day.

“When you wake up and your hands have been par­a­lyzed through spinal in­jury or ALS or Mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, you can only dream of play­ing the gui­tar,” said Whalen, a fan of elec­tric gui­tar-

ists such as Jimi Hen­drix. “My ren­di­tion of the na­tional an­them will be a true air gui­tar per­for­mance, be­cause I play the Jam­boxx with my breath. This is the dream of some­one who can’t phys­i­cally play the gui­tar. And it sounds awesome.”

Though Whalen said his ren­di­tion would make fa­mous fic­tional air gui­tar afi­ciona­dos Wayne and Garth of SNL skit “Wayne’s World” proud, his true aim is to show the world that peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties can Rock ’n’ Roll with the best of them.

“I want more peo­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence mu­sic and en­joy them­selves,” Whalen said.

He will ded­i­cate his per­for­mance to Par­a­lyzed Vet­er­ans of Amer­ica (PVA).

Made in Al­bany, N.Y., USA

Whalen and his friend Mike DiCe­sare in­vented and de­vel­oped the Jam­boxx over the past 10 years.

The Jam­boxx is now com­mer­cially avail­able in a num­ber of styles that are de­signed, man­u­fac­tured and as­sem­bled in Al­bany, N.Y.

Re­demp­tion, vi­ral video, Ma­jor League as­pi­ra­tions

Ear­lier this spring, on May 5, Whalen per­formed The Star Span­gled Ban­ner on a Jam­boxx at the Al­bany Em­pire’s sec­ond home arena foot­ball game against the Wash­ing­ton Valor at the Times Union Cen­ter in down­town Al­bany. Whalen’s Jam­boxx was set to play the trum­pet for that game.

On May 16, vi­ral video site

Dearly Presents pro­duced a video of Whalen’s per­for­mance at the Em­pire game which at­tracted an im­pres­sive 335,000 views, 3,400 shares, 1,700 likes, and 116

com­ments on Face­book.

To watch that video, see:https://www.face­book. com/dearlysite­v­ideo/ videos/1695534873871812/

But Whalen missed a note or two dur­ing that per­for­mance and now he aims to per­fect his per­for­mance on “air gui­tar” this Satur­day. He hopes that with

this stun­ning ren­di­tion he will get no­ticed by a Ma­jor League sports club that in­vites him to play the an­them be­fore a na­tional au­di­ence.

Jam­boxx, Inc. is ask­ing fans at the Val­leyCats game to share pho­tos and videos of his per­for­mance us­ing the hash­tags #Jam­boxxAn­them and #SendDave2Ma-

jors

“The Star Span­gled Ban­ner is no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to play and has tricked up many fa­mous mu­si­cal per­form­ers over the cen­turies, and Dave holds him­self to a high stan­dard like any other mu­si­cian,” said DiCe­sare, Jam­boxx pres­i­dent. “The beauty of the Jam-

boxx is its full range of per­for­mance ca­pa­bil­ity. So let’s help Dave go vi­ral and send him up to the ma­jors.”

Ac­cord­ing to Gen­eral Man­ager Matt Cal­la­han, The Val­leyCats have had 54 for­mer play­ers make it to the ma­jors, in­clud­ing MVPs, All-Stars, and World Se­ries Cham­pi­ons like Jose Al­tuve,

Ge­orge Springer, J.D. Martinez, Dallas Keuchel, Hunter Pence, and Ben Zo­brist.

“We are ex­cited to have Dave per­form­ing at our game on June 16 and hope that, like so many of our play­ers, we can be a mem­o­rable stop on his jour­ney to the ma­jor leagues,” Cal­la­han said.

PHOTO PRO­VIDED

Dave Whalen per­forms at the Times Union Cen­ter

PHOTO PRO­VIDED

Dave Whalen tests his Jam­boxx, a de­vice he in­vented so he could per­form de­spite be­ing par­a­lyzed from the neck down.

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