Brave New Day – Performing Music With Purpose

by Oletta Branstiter

The Star Spangled Banner is the only national anthem that contains a question: “Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

Someone has answered that question:

Because we are the brave
Yes we are the brave
We’ll fight tyranny
In the name of the free
We are the U.S. of A!

For those unaware
That flag is still there
It’s our future to save
This land of the brave
The U.S. of A!


In the summer of 2015, I discovered the band, Madison Rising. Their lead singer was Dave Bray, a former Navy corpsman, and sniper in the Marine Corps, who traded his uniform for a rock guitar and microphone, becoming lead singer for Madison Rising in 2011.

Madison Rising’s Star-Spangled Banner inspired the Patriot in me. I played this video for all of my Intermediate school students the first time they came with their classes to the Library. We stood for the entire song, and the majority of the students loved it. I played the audio of this song every time classes came to the Library all year long, at full volume. I never tired of seeing 5th and 6th graders rocking out to our National Anthem!

When I decided that I would use this song as part of my Our Nation’s Foundations curriculum, I friended Dave Bray on Facebook and told him my plan to use his song. He replied that I should contact the public relations manager at Madison Rising, and within a few weeks, I was thrilled to receive a package of posters, and CDs to use in my school library.


By the time Dave Bray’s voice bellows out the first words, an unexplainable wave wells up inside you, be it pride, be it patriotism, it stems from hearing a symbolic song in a fresh, harder, edgier way. It reminds one that despite its faults, we still live in a powerful and proud country.

But reinventing a song that strikes such an emotional chord in people is risky business. Madison Rising’s lead singer, Dave Bray, was keenly aware of this, but for him the challenge it proposed outweighed the risks. Here’s how he explains why the band took on a song like “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

“Well, that was another that I kind of took on because somebody told me I couldn’t do it. They said we can’t touch “The Star-Spangled Banner,” it’s too reverent, people get too bent out of shape about it. We knew it was going to be scrutinized and I knew it was going to be scrutinized, so when they told me I couldn’t do it, I just sat down. I was on a train back-and-forth for three hours, back-and-forth to New York and I was like, all right, I need to get working on this song. So that’s what I did, until I got it to a point that I liked and it ended up turning out really good.”

Inexplicably, in early 2015, Madison Rising manager Richard Mgrdechian made the decision to replace Dave Bray with Rio Hiett, an Air Force veteran. It was a shock to MR fans and a stunning blow to Dave Bray. Immediately, a Facebook group called We Support Dave Bray! was started for his fans to gather and give each other comfort and encouragement. This is part of what Dave posted on We Support Dave Bray:

I have been truly blessed to be a part of Madison Rising…to me, it was so much more than just a band…It was a place for me to profess my love of God and Country in a way that was exciting and entertaining to people of all generations. It was meeting other like-minded Patriots, Veterans, Young Marines and American families who, in turn, would carry on the good word and the mission of the band.

I still stand by what I said when I said that “Madison Rising is a continuation of my service and my loyalty to this Country”.

I loved the job, the music, and the mission and did them all to the utmost best of my ability.

I left everything I had on every stage I played. My family and I gave 5 years of blood sweat and tears to this project. We lived, breathed, ate, and even slept MR…My wife, Becky, who for the last few years has worn many hats by working tirelessly as the Director of Operations, booking, logistics, social media, outreach, PR and customer relations as well as being a stay at home mom for our two young boys. She has been not only the backbone of this operation but also our family.

We’ve been asked to step down from the positions we so truly loved..and since then, the unbelievable amount of prayers and support that you have given us as a family has been unwavering and continual. Your outreach and love are what has kept us strong throughout these seemingly impossible times…but your prayers….your prayers have been the key to our strength and what has bound us together as a family. They have been felt and heard in ways that only The Almighty himself will choose to deliver on in His own due time.

It is my firm belief that without God…there is no country.

AMERICANS were once a people and a nation who were “with God”… And it was known, just the same, around the world, that God, was “WITH” our Nation. A people who were steadfast and strong in their belief and their faith. A people who knew that by putting God first in all things that the rest would be blessed.

Today, God is slowly being taken away from our Country and our people…His presence is being wrung slowly and relentlessly from within each and every generation in the name of diversification and political correctness. It is sure to be the demise of America if we don’t stop the spread of this decay.

I’m here to tell you that inside each and every God fearing, Freedom loving, Flag waving Patriot that I’ve met along the way…is a Warrior. 

Stay the Course…

Finish the Fight…&  Never Surrender!!!

I haven’t given up…And neither should you!!!

I WILL see you all very soon on the other side of Freedom….In faith and arms my brothers and sisters…


-Brave Day


This illustrates the faith and patriotism of a man who pours out his devotion to both in every area of his life, especially on the music stage. After a few weeks of prayer and family discussions, Dave launched his own brand. No matter what happens, he inspires us all to make every day a Brave Day.

His memorial tribute to fallen officers is evidence of his patriotic passion:

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