Soldier Show: 90 minutes of energy
July 2, 2009
<b>HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga.</B> For 90 minutes, performers and crewmembers of the 2009 U.S. Army Soldier Show poured out all their energy in hopes that Tominac Fitness Center audience members would feel they were a part of the lively "Lights, Camera, Action" production.
"The show was great," said Sgt. 1st Class Jamie Smith, who is stationed at Fort Stewart. "They kept the atmosphere entertaining, where the crowd got involved with the act. It gives back to the Army by showing their appreciation to the men and women who work in the Army."
The Tominac gymnasium, which can seat about 900, was filled for the June 23 performance. Among the guests were groups from Sun City Veterans Association, USO volunteers, Adopt-A-Soldier volunteers, Brig. Gen. (retired) Chuck St. Arnaud with friends and Family, and the Savannah Area Military Officers Association.
They joined other members of the audience in giving the performers an enthusiastic standing ovation at the close of the show.
Patty James said she found the show "absolutely wonderful. It was full of talent, and it was so rich seeing our men and our women up there having fun." Her husband, Neal, concurred: "The performance was fantastic and the men and the women really showed what they are worth to all of us," he said.
The Jameses said the performance was particularly special to them because of the military service tradition in their lives, including the loss of some Family Members in combat. "We are military all the way back to the Civil War," Patty James said. "The Navy is more on his side (of the Family), the Army on my side."
Dr. John Clements, a dentist who practices at Hunter and Stewart, laughed as he said, "I wish I could dance as well as they (the performers) do."
Karshina Houston, wife of 1st Sgt. Donald Houston, said, "The show is awesome. This is our first time coming, and we will be coming back every year."
She and other members of the audience had been treated to a variety of songs - from rap to funk to retro - and plenty of dancing. The show included a roller skater and a jump-rope routine. "Commercials" were played during set changes, giving the audience the feeling they were part of a live television production.
One of the production's most stirring moments was when the Soldier-performers sang The Army Song.
Specialist Michele Walton, a Fort Stewart Soldier who is stage manager for the show, saw it all from a backstage perspective and was pleased with the night.
"Nothing broke," she said, chuckling. "For a couple of shows, we had to climb on ladders and do other stuff. We had one costume malfunction tonight, but it only took us a couple of seconds to fix it, and everything else went real great."
On stage, after the performance, Hunter Army Airfield Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Jose Aguilar and Hunter Army Airfield Command Sgt. Maj. David Sampleton presented a 3rd ID plaque of appreciation to Sgt. 1st Class Earnest Baskins, noncommissioned officer in charge of the show.
Aguilar and Sampleton later presented coins to Soldier Show performers and crew at a post-performance reception.
The Soldier Show will be at Newman Fitness Center on Fort Stewart for shows on Oct. 6 and Oct. 7.