JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (Army News Service, March 28, 2007) - In today's Army, finding a group of people who come from different backgrounds with different stories is as easy to find as a straw of hay in a haystack. But finding the same group of people who can manage to come together with their differences and bring a night of entertainment through music is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

Luckily for the servicemembers based at Jalalabad Airfield, a group of six Soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division Rock Band "Riser Burn" did just that during performances March 23-24 at the base dining facility.

Riser Burn started playing together as a band about nine months ago at their home base of Fort Bragg, N.C. For the last few months, they have traveled from base to base in Afghanistan, playing music and raising morale.

The band performs a wide variety of music during its shows. They play everything from "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne to "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue" by Toby Keith.

Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Travers, Staff Sgt. James Donahue, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Dudzienski, Sgt. Kevin Quinones, Sgt. Stephanie Doehr and the all-important sound man, Spc. Andre Yanniello, make up the dynamic band that brought a night of distraction and live entertainment to Soldiers, Airmen and Marines serving here.

"We are here to give the Soldiers a good time, a chance to forget about where they are," said Donahue, the bass player.

"We break up the mandatory day-to-day routine where they're at and help Soldiers forget what is expected of them for 40 minutes to an hour of their deployment," said Dudziensai, the man with the beat - also known as the drummer.

"One of the best parts of our job is being able to travel to different places. A lot of the places we go the Soldiers haven't seen or done anything for months, so it's cool to go out there and bring them entertainment," said Travers, a saxophone player by trade but a guitarist and vocalist in the band.

The fan base typically changes from base to base. However, there is a group of Soldiers who have been blessed enough to see the band play on four different occasions in the past three weeks.

"The same group of guys in the last three weeks have cheered us on and every single show they always come up and tell us how much they loved the music," said Doehr, a vocalist in the band who puts down her usual flute to grab a cow bell instead.

"They're our groupies," joked Quinones, who serves as a vocalist and lead guitarist.

The band is currently enroute to other bases around Afghanistan, where they will continue to rock until they are called back to Bagram Airfield for another mission while the second half of the 82nd Band takes its turn to travel. This poses no worries for fans, because before this deployment is through, the members of "Riser Burn" will return to what they do best: please the crowd with their music.

"No matter how good or bad we feel we've played that day, the heartfelt 'thank you' that we get from the crowd makes it all worth while," said Donahue.

(Pfc. Melissa M. Escobar writes for the 2nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16