'Modern Warrior Live' Aims to Ease Transition from Combat to Home

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A new generation of war veterans is adjusting to life back home, away from combat.  But, how do you go from that life to this?  That's what "Modern Warrior - Live" takes on.  It's a jazz and storytelling collaboration between veteran Jaymes Poling and trumpeter Dominick Farinacci. 

Poling used his memories and insight from a three-year stint in Afghanistan to create the show’s narrative.  His stories as a staff sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division were pooled with trumpeter Dominick Farinacci’s musical chops to bring the emotions of soldiers coming back home to the stage.

Farinacci first proposed the project to Poling in an e-mail, but the soldier says he had big reservations.

“Initially, when I got this email about collaborating on a music video, my first thought was no, I have no desire to,” Poling admits.

But, he soon learned that “Modern Warrior” had bigger ambitions.  Over the course of a seven-hour conversation, the two Northeast Ohioans quickly realized the potential of working together on a project that aimed to humanize returning soldiers and encouraging veterans to share their experiences.  Farinacci says their marathon conversation was a revelation to him.

“Every word of it,” he enthuses. “This is like nothing of what I thought I knew.”

Dominick Farinacci says the Tom Waits song "Soldier's Things" was an inspiration for "Modern Warrior Live"

As the narrator, Poling started working on the show’s script and Farinacci began composing music that would emotionally match the stories.

“He would tell me a story, and then I would come back to him with a song, an arrangement,” Farinacci recalls.  “And then he'd come back to me and say, ‘well, that's not exactly how I was feeling. Why don't you change this thing?’ And so, it was truly a collaborative effort.”

For his part, Poling saw these musical discussions as a way to improve his storytelling.  If the music didn’t convey his feelings, the soldier figures he just didn’t explain himself properly.

If the music wasn't right, that would really help me boil down how I felt about my own experiences,” he says.  “So, this has been therapeutic in that sense.”

A successful $10,000 Kickstarter campaign helped pay for a video pilot of the program, and allowed for the casting of additional performers and the hiring of a Technical Director.

The public debut of “Modern Warrior – Live” takes place November 8 and 9 at the Simon And Rose Mandel Theatre on the Eastern campus of Cuyahoga Community College.  From there it will travel across the country for performances in a number of locations, ranging from medical conventions to VFW halls.

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