The ‘Voice’ of the USMA Benny Havens Band

Story and photo by Kathy Eastwood Staff Writer

February 2nd, 2017 | News, News and Features
Staff Sgt. Jeremy Gaynor rehearses with the Benny Havens Band and Staff Sgt. Emily Mcaleesejergins for the Macy's Day Fireworks July 4 event Jan. 13 at the U.S. Military Academy Band rehearsal room. Gaynor is the lead male singer and Mcaleesejergins is the lead female singer for the Benny Havens Band. Since his appearance on "The Voice," Gaynor is working with producer Ron Dante in Las Vegas in recording an album. Dante has handled many musical stars such as Ray Charles.

Tampa, Florida native Staff Sgt. Jeremy Gaynor, the male lead voice for the U.S. Military Academy Benny Havens Band, found out at an early age that he liked to sing, but he also liked the Army, coming from a military family and a musical one. He found a way to combine the two.

“I have an older brother and an older sister and when I was about 7 or 8 years old, my brother wouldn’t let me hang out with him so I hung out with my older sister,” Gaynor said. “She was 7 years older than me and a member of a musical group and that’s when I realized I liked to sing and that I had a gift. I grew up in the church and when I was 11 or 12 years old, I started to sing in the church choir.”

Gaynor enlisted in the Army in 2009 as a 68 Romeo, a Veterinary Food Inspector. As a food inspector, he checked eating facilities on posts to ensure they were run in a sanitary manner. When he talked with his uncle, who was in the military, his uncle told him that he could combine his love of singing with the Army by joining the “Soldier Show.”

“I became a member of the ‘Soldier Show,’ Army Entertainment Detachment,” Gaynor said. “You audition, like here, but here (band) is more detailed. The Soldier Show had maybe 20 slots open.”

Gaynor met band mate and female lead singer Staff Sgt. Emily Mcaleesejergins when they both were members of the Army Entertainment Detachment.

“I came to one of the shows and that’s when I met her,” Gaynor said. “I knew her brother and brother-in-law and eventually got to work with Emily.”

Gaynor performed for hundreds of thousands of people in various venues across Europe, Asia and the continental United States as a member of the Army Entertainment Detachment. He also travels to various venues with the Benny Havens Band and is rehearsing for the Macy’s Day Parade Concert for July 4.

Gaynor is also working on his singing career. In 2015, he auditioned and won a spot on the popular television program “The Voice” and although he lost out to another contestant, it hasn’t dimmed his ambition.

Gaynor is now working with music super producer Ron Dante in Las Vegas. Dante was the lead singing voice for the animated group “The Archie’s” and has represented Barry Manilow, Cher, Pat Benatar and Ray Charles, to name a few.

Gaynor also signed up with TuneGo Music Discovery Network who connected him with Dante.

“Dante came across my songs in TuneGo and liked the way I sang,” Gaynor said. “TuneGo is a musical discovery network, an organization that is giving unknown artists a platform and opportunity to be heard. They have their own radio network. When Dante heard me on TuneGo, he researched me on ‘The Voice.’”

“As an artist coming off ‘The Voice,’ TuneGo has given me an opportunity to be heard, and Caleb Music Group is my management group,” he added. “TuneGo wants to be my marketing team and wants to bring me back to Las Vegas sometime in February. They do everything.”

Gaynor said Dante first brought him to Las Vegas to record an album at his studio, ‘The Hide Out.’

“I’m very appreciative of TuneGo,” Gaynor said. “I would never have a management team or marketing team if it weren’t for them (or have a record producer interested) and I enjoy being an artist, but there is also nothing like being a Soldier.

“I am also very appreciative to be a member of the band and the support I’ve gotten from them, and to be a Soldier and to do what I love,” Gaynor explained. “I enjoy those moments whether I’m getting the cadets ready to go or a moment interacting with the audience or bringing the emotion down to talk to a wife or mother about someone they lost. If you can’t put your heart into it, you need to take yourself out of it.”

Senior musician Sgt. Maj. Scott Drewes enjoys watching Gaynor perform and listening to him sing.

“We make him sing everything,” Drewes said. “He’s very well liked and it’s not just his voice, it’s his whole person. Whenever we go to an event, he takes it to a whole new level.”