Bethlehem Press

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CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Gary Sinise, center, and Lt. Dan Band, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17, State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Gary Sinise, center, and Lt. Dan Band, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17, State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Army Sgt. Adam Keys, center, a Whitehall Township resident, survived Afghanistan explosion. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Army Sgt. Adam Keys, center, a Whitehall Township resident, survived Afghanistan explosion.

Lt. Dan's the band

Wednesday, August 15, 2012 by ANDREW MARK Special to The Press in Focus

Gary Sinise in State Theatre benefit concert for wounded Whitehall veteran 'smart home'

Gary Sinise, best known for his Academy Award nominated role as Lt. Dan Taylor in "Forrest Gump," headlines the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton, with his music group the Lt. Dan Band, 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17.

The benefit concert is to raise money to build a "smart home" for Army Sgt. Adam Keys, a Whitehall Township resident who lost his legs and his left hand to an Improvised Explosive Device in July 2010 in Afghanistan. The explosion killed his friend and Whitehall native Army Spc. Jesse Reed.

The concert will also feature Daniel Rodriguez, known as "The Singing Policeman" for his performances in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. He is now known as "America's Beloved Tenor" for his renditions of "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful."

Artist Scott LoBaido, named by ABC News as their "Person of the Week" for his painting of images of the American Flag in every state in the United States, is also expected to be part of the show.

Lobaido painted an image of the American Flag on a wall adjacent to the State Theatre on Aug. 8. Lobaido said the huge flag is a "thank-you" to Keys, a triple amputee, and to area residents for helping to build Keys a smart home by attending the Lt. Dan Band concert at the State.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation has partnered with The Gary Sinise Foundation to build smart homes for members of the military who have been injured in Iraq or Afghanistan. So far, two homes have been completed and work has been done on others.

When the Lt. Dan Band performs at the State Theatre, 100 percent of the money raised will go to the building of a smart house for Keys.

According to Ltdanband.com, Sinise created the Lt. Dan Band with Kimo Williams while the two worked together on a production of Tennessee Williams' "A Streetcar Named Desire." After many jam sessions, the two decided to create a band.

The website also states that Sinise started working with the USO in 2003 and asked if he could take a band with him on tour. The USO agreed.

When Sinise started visiting troops, he was recognized as Lt. Dan, his role in "Forrest Gump," instead of Gary Sinise, It seemed that troops identified strongly with the character, so the name of the group became the Lt. Dan Band, according to the website.

The band plays a large variety of music, including songs by Stevie Wonder, Jimi Hendrix, Kelly Clarkson, Beyonce and from the 1940's big band era. The band is composed of 13 members playing everything from guitar to violin and trumpet.

Tickets: statetheatre.org, 1-800-999-STATE or at the box office at 453 Northampton St., Easton.