Gleeful show links past, present
October 21, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show went online at Fort Jackson last weekend with a nod to modern technology and social media.
The 90-minute show featured eight thematic and stylistic segments, including tributes to the late Michael Jackson and the TV show "Glee."
To transition between the segments, projectors showed images of a computer screen, simulating online communication on Facebook and other social media sites.
The 22 cast members performed four shows at the Solomon Center Saturday and Sunday. Three of the shows were exclusively attended by Soldiers in Individual Entry Training.
"I liked it. It was great," said Pfc. Felicia Martinez, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment.
Martinez said she especially enjoyed the Michael Jackson tribute and the segment on New York, which featured Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" and Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind."
The Soldier Show was created during World War I by composer Irving Berlin, who was honored in this year's show with a video homage and the live performance of two of his songs, "Cheek to Cheek" and "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning."
All of the performers and crew members are Soldiers. Once selected for the show, the Soldiers are attached to Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command for the tour.
Pfc. Rena Cunningham, a supply specialist stationed at Fort Riley, Kan., said she has been performing and writing music for most of her life. She attended the Soldier Show last year while in Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee, Va.
"I liked what it was about, so I decided to audition after the show that year," Cunningham said.
For Spc. David Palmer, an AIT instructor at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., the show is a way to share his talent with others.
"I've been singing my entire life, and this is a way to just put out my talent and let everybody see what I can do," Palmer said.
Cunningham explained that life on tour is not as glamorous as it may appear.
"It (takes) a lot of hard work, a lot of muscle, a lot of time," she said. "You're still a Soldier. You're a Soldier first, you're a performer second."
In addition to performing, the Soldiers are also responsible for setting up and breaking down the equipment.
Palmer said seeing the reaction of the crowd puts the hard work into perspective.
"You're not doing this for yourself, you're doing this to better other people and make other people feel better," he said.