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The Screeching Halts make local brake company stronger

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SING: Dave Scribner sings as he plays guitar at the United Way luncheon celebrating the 2018 fundraising campaign. Also pictured are Brad Price on keyboard,Kevin Haberland on drums and Jeff Phillips on bass.
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BASS: Phillips, who is playing the bass, is the only other original band member besides Scribner. Both work in the IT department at Bendix.

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

When the Screeching Halts formed in 2014, the Huntington man who created the band had never picked up an instrument.

Although one could assume the band’s name is referring to guitarist and vocalist David Scribner’s lack of experience playing electric guitar, Scribner and a fellow IT specialist, Jeff Phillips, named the band as a clever pun, poking fun at the fact that the band is comprised of workers from various departments at Bendix, a local brake company.

As the band has gained recognition, especially through support from Bendix COO Carlos Hungria, The Screeching Halts have begun a nationwide tour, playing twice in Tuscon, Ariz. at corporate meetings and at new locations as Bendix plants open across the country.

Since the band started, Scribner said he thinks the band has brought employees together from across all backgrounds, strengthening teamwork and employees’ sense of belonging.

“That’s one reason why I think Carlos, our COO, really pushes us to do this,” Scribner said. “He really feels like it is a positive thing for us to get involved as employees. We’re not bringing in another band (for events). It’s actually people from the floor going up there and entertaining other people from the floor. That’s pretty sweet.”

Over the past five years, 14 workers from the Huntington facility have played for the band, including members from engineering, health and safety, the tear down line and electronics – everyone from maintenance to management.

“Even though we’re from different departments, we have a common interest, and that is what’s neat to me,” Scribner said. “We come from different places, but we all have a common desire to play and entertain.”

Their talent doesn’t stop with music. Scribner said former bassist Heath Pinkerton helped him add comedy into their routine to keep the crowd laughing, and Scribner said their efforts have been well received.

“It’s been going great. Everybody seems to like it. They haven’t thrown us out and they don’t throw rotten vegetables at us or anything, so I guess that’s a good sign,” Scribner said with a laugh.

Although Scribner’s experience with music is limited, his background in community theater meshes well with his current band members’ musical background. Phillips has a history of playing in bands and has been playing bass since he was a child, and guitarist Mark Felton, drummer Kevin Haberland, lead guitarist Larry Maruna and keyboardist Brad Price all bring years of experience to help Scribner out.

“I’ve kind of been leaning on these guys for the most part,” Scribner said. “They’re great, and we’ve had a lot of fun together.”

Scribner still gets nervous each time they’re about to take the stage, but he said his nerves have gotten better since the current group has been practicing together for about two years now.

“It gets easier, but you never walk up there without being a little bit nervous,” he said. “I think just being able to entertain people is what makes it worth it. Knowing that they’re entertained, that, for me, is everything.”

Their presence is also reaching outside of the Bendix corporate scene. Relay For Life invited them to play a 17 song set at their annual walk to raise money for cancer research, and the band just played at the United Way luncheon.

They tape their events and post them on social media, so people interested in following along with their progress can visit facebook.com/thescreechinghalts/ or find them by searching Screeching Halts on YouTube.

They don’t have any events scheduled in the near future, but Scribner said as long as people keep inviting them, they’ll keep playing.

“They’re just a great bunch of guys, and I just love playing with them,” he said. “We have a lot of fun, and hopefully everyone else does too.”