Sunny Wilkinson

A well-respected vocal teacher, Sunny Wilkinson is also a versatile jazz singer with a wide range. She started out singing in church choirs, and went to Arizona State University on a choral scholarship, playing trombone and singing with a pop/jazz group on weekends. She discovered jazz during that era and has since sung with the Count Basie Orchestra (as a guest), Rob McConnell's Boss Brass, Bill Watrous, Marvin Stamm and, most often, with her own small combos. 


Awarding winning Musician and US Army Veteran Allan  Barnes was the spearhead of the Peaceful Warriors Project. He was best known for his time in the iconic Blackbyrds band and its mega hit "Walking in Rhythm". Allan played with music legends Nina Simone, Prince, Pharaoh Sanders, Sonny Rollins,  Billy Taylor, Gil Scott-Heron and more. His composition "Bringing Home the Colors" written with Army Veteran John Malone is the centerpiece of the  the PWP Concerts. 


Celebrates the music of U.S. Veterans

 Preserves the stories of U.S. Veterans

 Connects U.S. Veterans and Communities With Family Veteran Story


Rayse Biggs

Jazz is his first love and passion but his expressions on the trumpet in various musical genres and styles remains astounding. Whether he is playing rhythm and blues or gospel
or a calypso or Caribbean beat, you still know his sound. Rayse has recorded with Bob Dylan, Kid Rock, Kem and other notable musicians.  He also fronts his own jazz quintet.  Rayse  has been playing with Peaceful Warriors Project over the last six years.

The Peaceful Warriors Project features activities focused on culture for community change and/or the celebration of culture and heritage and in doing so creates public awareness for the plight of our Veterans. PWP makes use of cross-sector partnerships and collaborations that are authentic and mutually beneficial. We welcome the community to join us in this all  volunteer project.

    Peaceful Warriors Project 

  Born and raised in Detroit Michigan, Gayelynn's father, the legendary Harold McKinney, was a formidable jazz pianist, composer and teacher who mentored many people and played with such great as, Billy Holiday, Gene Krupa and many others. Her mother Gwendolyn McKinney was a fashion model and renowned singer, singing in such productions as Carman and Porgy and Bess. She was also recorded on Harold McKinney's Voices and Rhythms of The Creative Profile."  

Gayelynn began playing the drums at the age of two. She received much of her musical training in the Detroit Jazz scene but, she also obtained her Bachelor of Music degree from Oakland University. Gayelynn McKinney's many awards include; 2014 Kresge Artist Fellows recipient, Grammy Nomination, Music Fest USA, and Motor City Music Award.
She has also performed as a side musician with such notables as, Aretha Franklin, Benny Golson, Freda Payne, Roy Ayers, Geri Allen, Marcus Belgrave, Chaka Khan, Roy Hargrove, James Carter, Regina Carter and Allan Barnes.



Jazz icons team up for
  cross cultural appreciation.  It all adds up to American
music at its finest!

University of Phoenix Detroit Campus
"Advocate for Veterans' Education"

Chris Eilersen began playing guitar and writing songs during the coffeehouse era in the middle 1960's in St. Petersburg, Florida. His strong vocals, finger style guitar playing and interesting song interpretations made him a popular musician during his high school years. His enlistment in the USAF in 1970 brought him to duty stations in Texas, Florida and DaNang, Vietnam.  He continued playing guitar after his discharge in 1974 while working in a number of different fields. He retired from the Lapeer County Sheriff Department in 2013 and has played steadily at venues in and around his hometown of Almont, MI since. Chris and his wife, Sally can be heard at festivals and special occasions throughout the year.

Gayelynn McKinney

Chris Eilersen

PWP Founder: Allan Barnes

The Allan C. Barnes