Scene did not obtain state approval to use current inmates' full names, so last names have been edited out of this letter:
My name is Chuck and I truly enjoyed your recent article on the Music with a Purpose Program at Trumbull Correctional. I can certainly relate to the emotional outpouring from these very talented men. You see I was one of them. Not just a prisoner that could identify with what these men endure day in and day out. Not just an offender who sang in programs like this one. I was the original lead singer for the awesome rock band DRYVETRAYNE!
I cannot remember the exact start date for us. I will say 2006-2007. When Starter (Vincent) wanted to devote serious time to his craft, he and I were introduced and the rest is history. We first started as a classic rock cover band but as we grew as men and friends we decided to venture off into writing original material. This was at the time TCI (Trumbull Correctional Institution) was forming the Music with a Purpose program. I would say that the most significant lineup of DRYVETRAYNE, the core that stayed throughout some minor personnel changes, was Vincent, Joe, Mike, and myself.
With collaboration comes cohesion. Starter was the music man and I was the primary lyricist. Vincent did write lyrics from time to time and I composed some of my own songs. Not to mention that both Joe and Mike contributed in this effort too. That said our signature song was one written by Starter and arranged by the group: it is called "Experience". As the guys shared with you, the family concert was the pinnacle. Another year had passed plus it was another season of new songs and new experiences for us to share. I sang our songs as a member of DRYVETRAYNE for nearly half of my time spent behind those walls. I performed my last show as a member of the group in July of 2011.
I have vivid memories of those days. I listen to the cds from time to time recalling to memory where I was mentally, physically, and spiritually. The design of these types of programs from an administrative stand point is to reward yes ,but also to build confidence in the individual to say if you are productive in this environment you can be as well once you re enter society. I am proof that rehabilitation does work but the burden of this proof is on the individual.
So what have I done with my musical talents since my release? Well since June of this year I am the worship leader for the contemporary services at my local church. I would be remiss in omitting this all important truth that my success, my reward, my joy comes in singing for the Lord. This was the catalyst during my incarceration and He was the inspiration for the words that I put to paper and Starter put to music as members of DRYVETRAYNE.