Field artillery Soldier shines brightest
September 8, 2011
FORT SILL, Okla. -- Three very talented singers vied for the title of Fort Sill's Rising Star, but in the end there could be only one.
Staff Sgt. Cory Bullis, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 95th Adjutant General Battalion, won the competition.
Bullis received $500 and may advance to compete in the televised Armywide finals Nov. 13 through 20.
The other competitors were 2nd Lt. Scott Negrete, D Battery, 4th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery, 31st ADA, who took second place; and Laura Blankenship, an Army wife, who walked away with third place.
"It was an extremely close competition and several of the judges said all three of the contestants were so good it was hard to select one," said event organizer Marion Doss, Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation special events coordinator. "We had a really good turnout and several special guests at the finale."
The guests included two honorary judges. Lisa Pratt, a Lawton native returned to the competition having won the 2009 Operation Rising Star. Along with her, Sgt. Emily McAleesejergins, a member Army Soldier Show, lent her talents toward selecting Fort Sill's outstanding performer.
Pratt also hit the stage where she treated the audience to one of her original songs.
Many members of the cast and crew of the Soldier Show were at Operation Rising Star to scope out talent for next year's show, and several of the cast gave impromptu performances between acts.
Doss said audience members at the local competition won prizes, too, thanks in part to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the presenting sponsor of the 2011 Operation Rising Star event.
"There were lots of door prizes awarded during the event and the spirit award for the best supportive unit or family readiness group went to Bullis' unit, HHB, 95th AG," she said.
The $300 went to the most supportive unit or FRG attending the weekly competitions to support their unit activities.
Bullis said he has learned that when competing in a vocal competition like rising star with such talented competitors, the best thing to do is stick with music you know and are comfortable performing.
"That's what I did with singing country," he said. Bullis sang country music song "I Want to Be Your Man," for his selection in the finals. His mandatory Beatles song selection was "Yesterday," which allowed him to showcase his vocal range.
"I think having so much support from my unit and family readiness group definitely helped me win the competition. I don't necessarily agree with letting the audience vote on the winner because it turns into a popularity contest but I know that's how these competitions are. I do want to thank everyone who came out to support me in the semifinals and finals."
"I haven't thought any further than getting through the local competition but if I do get the opportunity to represent Fort Sill in the Armywide Operation Rising Star, I think that would be huge. It would certainly be an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I would love to go for it," he said.
Bullis made an audition tape and sent it to Family and MWR Command. He could be selected as one of 12 contestants in the Armywide competition.
The winner of that contest wins a lucrative recording music experience -- a paid trip to Hollywood, Calif., to record his or her own three-song CD and $1,000.