Veteran’s band wins national competition


DAYTON – A local Veterans band won the first two spots in a national competition.

“Chazz” competed in the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition with the following outcome:

    • First Place Band Country/Folk/Blue Grass/Pop Category “Smooth Operator”
    • Second Place Band Jazz/Rhythm/Blues/Rock “That’s the Way Love Goes”

“For us to come in first place, I mean that just blew me away. I’m still kind of mesmerized, in shock,” said band founder and bass player James Willis.

The band members are Willis, Sharmikia Clark, Tyrone Johnson, Paul Cole, Eric Scott, Darryl Dortch and Ricardo Nicholson

Each year Veterans enter the competition at their local VA. There were more than 5,600 entries nationwide in art, creative writing, dance, drama and music categories. The Dayton VA was among 130 VA facilities represented at the competition.

At the Dayton VA, a local three judge panel scores the entries using a nationally provided judging template. The first-place winner advances to the national level.

“We put in hard work, each and every member in the group was dedicated. I’m so proud of all of them,” said Willis.

Nationwide, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help Veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities.

“Chazz” band members will receive their award in a ceremony in the Dayton VA Director’s Conference Room at 2:30 on Wednesday October 23, 2019.

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