PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. - For four years now, Presidio of Monterey residents have participated in the Army Festival of Arts Competition.

This year for the first time the Better Opportunities for Single Service members and the Presidio Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation and Outdoor Recreation groups worked together to create an event that used the picturesque California coastline and beach weather.

"This is the first time for us to merge and work together in one program," said Joaquin Finona, Pesidio FMWR division chief.

The event centered on a live talent competition dubbed "The Presidio has mad talent" with beach activities for military members like soccer, volleyball and free kayaking sponsored by Outdoor Recreation.

Unlike the Operation Rising Star, a show in the vein of popular Fox network's singing competition "American Idol", the Army Festival of Arts Competition does not just concentrate on the vocal talents, but includes other categories such as dance and instrumentals.
The competition also has a record number of garrisons that entered this year, said Joe Leavell, talent coordinator for the Army Soldier show and FMWRC.
"So from across all the continents, we will be looking at (Festival of Arts competitors,) and that is just one piece," said Leavell. "We are also scouting for the Soldier show, looking for tech folks and holding live auditions."

Leavell, was guest judge at the event and appreciated the local setting of the competition.

"This is the first time to do an event like this," said Leavell. "A talent show on the beach, we are so impressed with the setting and concept (this year) from the Presidio."

The venue also afforded competitors another feature: the ability to show talent to not only their military peers, but to the local beach goers passing by on Monterey's Del Monte beach.

"I've been playing for the public for a few years," said Spc. Jakob McDaniel, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion.

A veteran of "Open Mic Nights" in the Monterey area, McDaniel went on to win the Presidio's competition with three original songs written by him and will be used for the Army's competition.

. "I feel great being recognized for what I love doing," he added.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16