Jamboxxing the Star Spangled Banner

Check out this full page spread on Dave’s upcoming performance of the Star Spangled banner by the Troy Record.

Paralyzed from the neck down, local man to play national anthem at Valleycats game

Troy, N.Y. >> A local quadriplegic man will play the national anthem on the “air guitar” before Saturday’s Tri-City ValleyCats game using a musical device he created to overcome his disability.

Dave Whalen, 56, of Scotia, N.Y. has been paralyzed from the neck down since a ski accident at age 19.

At 7 p.m. on June 16, Whalen will perform The Star Spangled Banner on a Jamboxx before the ValleyCats’ second home game of the season against the Vermont Lake Monsters at the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium in Troy

Jamboxx is a harmonica-like device that attaches to a computer and allows people with limited mobility to create music with their breath. Moving the mouthpiece left or right determines which note is played.

Because he does not have the use of his hands, Whalen uses the Jamboxx’s hands-free bracket.


The Jamboxx is an electric synthesizer that can play any instrument, including piano, saxophone, violin, and drums. Whalen will have his Jamboxx set to play the national anthem on electric guitar this Saturday.

“When you wake up and your hands have been paralyzed through spinal injury or ALS or Multiple sclerosis, you can only dream of playing the guitar,” said Whalen, a fan of electric guitarists such as Jimi Hendrix. “My rendition of the national anthem will be a true air guitar performance, because I play the Jamboxx with my breath. This is the dream of someone who can’t physically play the guitar. And it sounds awesome.”

Though Whalen said his rendition would make famous fictional air guitar aficionados Wayne and Garth of SNL skit “Wayne’s World” proud, his true aim is to show the world that people with disabilities can Rock ’n’ Roll with the best of them.

“I want more people to experience music and enjoy themselves,” Whalen said.

He will dedicate his performance to Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA).


Whalen and his friend Mike DiCesare invented and developed the Jamboxx over the past 10 years.

The Jamboxx is now commercially available in a number of styles that are designed, manufactured and assembled in Albany, N.Y.


Earlier this spring, on May 5, Whalen performed The Star Spangled Banner on a Jamboxx at the Albany Empire’s second home arena football game against the Washington Valor at the Times Union Center in downtown Albany. Whalen’s Jamboxx was set to play the trumpet for that game.

On May 16, viral video site Dearly Presents produced a video of Whalen’s performance at the Empire game which attracted an impressive 335,000 views, 3,400 shares, 1,700 likes, and 116 comments on Facebook.

To watch that video, see:https://www.facebook.com/dearlysitevideo/videos/1695534873871812/

But Whalen missed a note or two during that performance and now he aims to perfect his performance on “air guitar” this Saturday. He hopes that with this stunning rendition he will get noticed by a Major League sports club that invites him to play the anthem before a national audience.

Jamboxx, Inc. is asking fans at the ValleyCats game to share photos and videos of his performance using the hashtags #JamboxxAnthem and #SendDave2Majors

“The Star Spangled Banner is notoriously difficult to play and has tricked up many famous musical performers over the centuries, and Dave holds himself to a high standard like any other musician,” said DiCesare, Jamboxx president. “The beauty of the Jamboxx is its full range of performance capability. So let’s help Dave go viral and send him up to the majors.”

According to General Manager Matt Callahan, The ValleyCats have had 54 former players make it to the majors, including MVPs, All-Stars, and World Series Champions like Jose Altuve, George Springer, J.D. Martinez, Dallas Keuchel, Hunter Pence, and Ben Zobrist.

“We are excited to have Dave performing at our game on June 16 and hope that, like so many of our players, we can be a memorable stop on his journey to the major leagues,” Callahan said.