Bexley resident performs in world Armed Services tour
Sitting in her fourth-grade class at Cassingham Elementary School this week, Ryan Steinbrook and her classmates will visit military bases around the world.
Ryan's mother, Bexley resident Molly Pauken, is traveling Europe and the Mediterranean this month to play for the U.S. Armed Forces Entertainment Tour.
Pauken is a bass and guitar player in the band of country singer and songwriter Jonalee White.
"We applied for the tour about a year and a half ago," Pauken said. "Since being accepted to the tour, the trip has really grown into a complete world tour."
The band, which includes band members from central Ohio and White, a Cincinnati native, will play shows at 17 military locations in 22 days.
"We will be visiting Army, Air Force and Naval bases in Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Netherlands, Turkey, Egypt and Kosovo," Pauken said.
Through e-mail and a Web-based program called Skype, Pauken and her band mates will document their trip for students in Suzy Levine's Cassingham class. The tour is scheduled to run through May 26.
"I am excited to be able to talk to my mom through Skype and the Web cam," Ryan said. "I think my class will enjoy it, too. We can mark a dot on each city on the map on our Smartboard."
Before leaving, Ryan provided her mother with almost 300 letters her classmates wrote for troops.
"(The band is) so much fun to listen to and I am almost 100 percent sure that the troops will enjoy listening to them, too," Ryan said.
Pauken has been a professional musician for nearly 20 years and has played in England and the United States, but this trip will be her first Armed Forces Entertainment Tour.
"I am so excited to play music for our troops," she said. "I was worried about being away for three weeks, but I came to realize that our soldiers' tours of duty last for months to years on end with many extensions as well.
"They miss the birthdays of their children," Pauken said. "They too are gone on Mother's Day. With our music, I hope to bring a little 'home' to them."
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