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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Rock & Roll

National Veterans Creative Arts Festival

Gary Satchell rehearsing

Gary Satchell has performed in numerous bands in the Denver area for years playing lead guitar and singing vocals. He has also volunteered for a couple years in the nursing home at the Denver VA Medical Center, where his brother Charles is an employee. When asked about his musical participation at the facility he receives care at, Satchell said his brother introduced him to the program, but the timing to get involved just didn’t work until this year because of all the traveling he did with the bands. "This is the first year I have performed at the Festival," said Satchell, an Air Force Veteran.

In Denver's local competition, Satchell won a gold medal in the Instrumental Rock category and a bronze medal in the Vocal Rock category. At Sunday’s Stage Show, he will be the third soloist for the song "Don't Stop" and was chosen to sing in the ensemble for the final production number, "Star Spangled Banner." Being involved in the Festival, Satchell said, "Is a reminder of what tremendous talent there is among Veterans."

Donna Lonergan, recreation therapist at the Denver VA Medical Center, has been involved in the National Creative Arts Festival for 19 years. She described Satchell as a "rising star" who has taught himself by participating in various workshops offered through a partnership with the Actors Equity Association in Denver and the medical center. "They provide technical support, one-on-one coaching, emotional support and prepare the Veterans for performances," said Lonergan. "Gary was very well prepared and studied for his part here…that has led to his rise!"

By Todd Greenman, public affairs officer,VA Medical Center, Battle Creek, Michigan

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