For a moment, service members put their jobs on hold and enjoyed a free Catchpenny rock concert Sept. 23 at Morale, Welfare and Recreation east on Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
Catchpenny was the 2009 Armed Forces Entertainer of the Year â€“ the highest honor associated with touring for Armed Forces Entertainment.
“My hope is always that people have fun for a couple (of) hours and I don’t know if we’re going to change their week, but if we can change their day, that is pretty good,” said Christian Schauf, Catchpenny’s lead singer. “We have always wanted to make an impact with our music and do something positive with it.”
Christian Schauf, a Minneapolis native, said he can see a difference in the service members after the band’s concerts.
“You see the looks on their faces, and for that minute they forget they were in the middle of the desert and it’s 110 degrees,” said Zachary Schauf, Catchpenny’s singer and keyboard musician and Christian Schauf’s brother.
Sgt. Michael Carruth, the battalion maintenance office clerk with E Company, 2nd Detachment, 106th Support Battalion, out of Collins, Miss., attached to Task Force 1st Battalion, 155th Infantry Regiment, said he was one of those Soldiers.
“The Catchpenny concert took my mind off missing my family for a couple of hours,” said Carruth. “I am thankful. It was a perfect way to take my mind off matters here as well.”
Carruth said anything that can help service members ease their everyday stress is great.
“I loved the concert,” said Carruth. “I love music, so having a rock band perform for the troops is totally awesome. I was surprised at the fact they brought Soldiers on stage to play music with them. They seemed to love what they were doing as well.”
Zachary Schauf, a Minneapolis native, said his grandfather served in Korea and his older brother served in Iraq in 2003. He said the military has always been a big part of his life, and performing offers him a rare chance to give back.
“We feel really honored to have this opportunity to give back,” said Zachary Schauf. “It’s such a sacrifice for you guys to be over here. We’ve got to see firsthand that it’s not an easy job. We’re just thankful for the opportunity to hopefully help out for a minute, to give back a little bit.”
Christian Schauf said he has one life to live and he wants to do something entertaining and worthwhile with it.
“I always say we’re the rodeo clowns,” said Christian Schauf. “We are over here, but you guys are doing all the hard work and it’s really humbling to be over here and to see what people do for a year. We’re appreciative of that and we support what’s going on and try to do everything to do our part.”
The band has released two CDs and is working on their third.
“It was great to see a talented band perform for us here at Balad, and to speak with the members of the band before the show,” said Carruth. “I got the sense that they really believed in what they were doing for the troops. Catchpenny has gained at least one new fan.”
Story by Sgt. Ryan Twist