This past weekend the Cool Springs Healthway’s band “Strat5” rocked the house in Cleveland, winning Fortune Magazine’s Battle of the Corporate Band competition. The event was held at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Clevelend on the shores of Lake Erie. Celebrity judges who selected Healthway’s Strat5 included Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee, author and founding member of the band .38 Special Jeff Carlisi and Making Music Magazine Editor Antoinette Follett. Battle of the Corporate Band sponsors included Fortune Magazine, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants).
I travelled to Cleveland to cover the event, not sure what to expect. It was a surreal experience and it was exciting to be there represnting the home crowd for Strat5’s big win. A special thanks to Reena Samaan from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, who seamlessly coordinated much of the event. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame pulled out all stops to make this a very special evening for the bands attending.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is definately a place everyone needs to visit sometime in their life.
Not only did Strat5 win best band of the year, but several members won individual awards. Emy Stewart and Nadine Conley were awarded best vocalist of the year and Victor Mattingly was awarded best drummer of the year.
Short video of Strat5 rocking:
I’ve been working on my recount of the event for a couple days, but I think its best told by one of the members of Strat5 Mark Paul, who sent me this note-
Just some thoughts here.
We rolled into Cleveland excited to be performing and considered to be one of the top eight corporate bands in the country.
We had practiced very hard over the past few months and felt ready to rock.
What hit me was seeing the history of rock music there before my eyes.
The Rolling Stones,Springsteen, the Beatles. Howlin Wolf and Little Richard.
John Lennon’s piano and Jimi Hendrix’s stage clothes.
First we got to play a warm up sound check show. The band played well and kind of got the party vibe going during “Honky Tonk Women”-Rolling Stones. We all went back to our individual Hotel rooms. I brought my guitar and kept playing songs. I headed back to the Rock Hall to meet the band back stage. Everyone in the band was in the zone.
We were going to rock the Rock Hall. We heard the other bands playing. Their fans are cheering but you are thinking about your show an They all can play well and are ready to rock. Then Tommy Lee walks in behind the judges booth.
It’s all on the line. We hit the stage and got ourselves in place like runners getting ready to run a race in the Olympic games.
Next you hear, “From Healthways, Strat 5!” We launched into “Bring Me To Life” -Evanescence. As soon as Emy started singing I knew this was going to be a great show. I just felt it deep down. During “It’s Only Love” –Bryan Adams / Tina Turner duet.
I looked at Emy as we sang our way into the bridge. It was awesome. We were both smiling because we knew the band sounded great and we were getting to sing our hearts out for our family, friends and Healthways colleagues right there in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame. Seeing Victor Mattingly win it all for best drummer was amazing. Emy and Nadine also won top honors for vocalists. In the end the judges came back and they announced that the top band would get to record with Tommy Lee in Los Angeles, which is also my home town. We heard them announce third and second place band winners and we were not one of those bands. I suddenly remembered every unmentioned band and how good they played. The tension at that point was ridiculous. The band grouped together looking up at the stage. Our eyes were glazed and I know that I did not take a breath for at least a minute. Suddenly they announce that the winning band was Strat 5 from Healthways. Anyone who could see us would have seen the biggest group hug in history. For that moment I reflected back on all of the hard rehearsals and thought, it was totally worth it. What an amazing ride. What great people in all of those bands who competed.What a great band and great people that I have the privilege to work with. David, Emy, Nadine, James, Matt, Victor and Erney… Wow…All for one, and one for all and all for the love of rock and roll music.