Sound Off 2 Now Scheduled for Armed Forces Week

Sound Off for Vets will now be held in conjuction with the Armed Forces Week Celebration on City Island, which will take place on May 21. The show will run from 10 am to 4 pm on the deck of the Pride of the Susquehanna and still offer all the same activities as last year’s event did.

This change should offer increased participation and generate more interest in the Wounded Warrior Project and the contributions of our military service men and women.

Planning for Sound Off 2 Begins


The Sound Off for Vets Planning Committee met in Harrisburg last night to begin working on this year’s event. The date is now going to be on June 4th, since the riverboat wasn’t available on the original date of the 18th. Our point of contact from the Harrisburg Riverboat Society is Will D’Amico. He will be our liaison to the group. I have reserved the boat for June 4th and spoke with Andrew Ponte, who has agreed to send me an acknowledgement in writing. We are also going to make sure that we have written agreements from the Riverboat Society so everyone is on the same page this year. Chris Nelson that issue. 

First, we have a working web site, so you can begin sending this link out to anyone you know; Thanks to Ric Albano for making this happen. 

We are currently developing a set of sponsorship packages to offer local business this year in order to help with the costs of the event. Ric Albano is working that issue. We hope to have something that will be attractive to local businesses and allow us to raise the money we need for this event. I also plan to contact our local veteran service organizations (VFW, Legion, etc.) to see if they would be willing to donate to this event. 

I am working on getting Crown Magnetics in Lebanon to furnish posters for this event that we can use to get the word out about this event. There should have something to report by the next time we meet. 

This event has been registered with the Wounded Warrior Project. They will be coordinating with us as we get further along. 

We are also working on having a photographer and videographer at the event to offer video and photos to the bands & musicians as a ‘thank you’ for their participation. This will also give us more footage to place on the web site in the future. 

Another thing we discussed is asking some of the more well-known acts in the area to perform for this event in order to get a larger crowd. Karyn Albano is working that issue. 

We are trying to get someone to coordinate the kids’ activities. Dena Djangdhari is trying to contact Susan Smith from Operation Military Kids to get some assistance. 

Our next meeting has been scheduled for February 28 in the Kline Library meeting room at 5:30 PM.

A Look Back at Sound Off 1

NOTE: This article was originally published on June 25, 2010 at DAMES of PA.

It was a spectacular summer’s day on City Island, Harrisburg with a festive atmosphere of food, drink, music, and relaxation. The first (annual) Sound Off for Vets benefit concert was held on June 17, 2010. The event was organized by Chris Nelson, sponsored by The Harrisburg Riverboat Society and DAMES of Pa. It was scheduled to coincide with the Harrisburg arrival of The PA Hero Walkers who walked 342 miles from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh to raise money for The Wounded Warriors Project, which also received proceeds from this event.

The event kicked off at 3pm with singer, songwriter and primary orginizer of the event, Chris Nelson. He performed a nice mix of original songs plus covers such as R.E.M.’s “Driver 8” and “Pink Houses” by John Cougar Mellencamp. Nelson, the organizer and primary engine behind this event, was introduced by DJ Nipsey from the rock station 105.7 “The X”.
Chris Nelson Video

Nipsey also stuck around to introduce the talented Mycenea Worley, who performed some interesting arrangements of cover songs such as “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” by Stevie Nicks and “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, but really stole the show with her powerful originals “Low” and “100 Days”.

Mycenea Worley Video

At 5:00, the third and final acoustic act, Brian Xander performed a unique acoustic set that included a wide range of material from Green Day to AC/DC to some country-rock standards. His original tune about American servicemen “Standing Tall” was a definite highlight and totally gelled with the theme of this event.

Brian Xander Video

The first band to perform was the New York trio Fools On Sunday, featuring 13-year-old prodigy “Johnny Lightning” on lead vocals and drums. The band performed some interesting, punked-out of versions of rock standards, such as “Summertime Blues”, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, and “Free Bird” as well as a few originals.

Fools on Sunday Video

Another trio, Animal Society from the Harrisburg area, followed with a solid set of mostly original tunes from their upcoming album Any Atomic Lies. These included the standouts “Say No More”, “California”, and “The Lion” – a song actually written about a wounded warrior. They also adapted some unique covers such as Widespread Panic’s “One Arm Steve” and the Zeppelin rarity “We’re Gonna Groove”.

Animal Society Video

The impressive Shift Seven, performed next. The three-member band has a well crafted and finely tuned sound that could be a hybrid of ZZ-Top, Lynard Skynard, and Aerosmith, or as they put it, “Acid Fried Funkabilly Blues Rock”. They performed a crisp, tight set made up of selections from their latest studio project 1.5 Days.

Shift Seven Video

Odd Man In? capped off the night with their original set of rock/jam tunes plus some covers that ranged from Sublime to Pink Floyd as darkness descended upon the boat and the 10:00 city curfew quickly approached.

Odd Man In? Video

In between sets, many of the donated items and gift baskets were raffled off to attendees who contributed to the cause by purchasing raffle tickets. These prizes included a basket of wine from the Finger Lakes region of New York, passes to Hersheypark and The Civil War Museum, an autographed baseball bat, several gift certificates to local businesses, and much more.

All in all, Sound Off for Vets 2010 was a success. The music was quality and entertaining, the weather was spectacular, and the setting was unique. The event had some inherent uphill challenges such as going head-to-head with Mechanicsburg’s Jubilee Day and Game 7 of the NBA Finals, not to mention it was the first of it’s kind so there was no habitual pattern of attendance to count on. But Nelson feels this was a good start and a learning experience and already has some big plans for doing it again in 2011.