'Carnival' show brings entertainment for Soldiers, by Soldiers to Wiregrass
November 10, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 10, 2011) -- Soldiers from around the country visited the Wiregrass Nov. 5-6, putting on two performances of the 2011 U.S. Army Soldier Show at Enterprise High School.
This year's Soldier Show, entitled "Carnival -- A Traveling Thank You," included performances of contemporary and classic hit songs, high-energy dance numbers, as well as multicultural performances representing Hispanic, Asian and other international cultures. The presentation is coordinated by U.S. Army Family Morale, Welfare and Recreation and by the Army Entertainment Division, which aims to provide "entertainment for the Soldier, by the Soldier."
Hundreds were in attendance for Sunday's matinee performance, including Col. James A. Muskopf, Fort Rucker garrison commander, who was presented a plaque of appreciation by Army Entertainment.
"You could stay at home and watch 'America's Got Talent,' but you've got to be here to see Soldiers' got talent. I have seen three Soldier shows in the past, but this is by far the best that I've seen," said Muskopf.
He explained that the Soldier Show is morale-boosting for Soldiers, Families and the surrounding community, because it shows a different side of the Army.
"The Soldiers in the show come from all specializations. They come and get to let their hair down and have fun," he said.
The Soldiers performed hit songs by artists like Lady Gaga and The Black Eyed Peas, but the closing number, a melody of patriotic tunes, elicited many cheers and even a few tears from audience members.
"I loved it. It was great -- it had a little bit of everything. I think the facility provided more room and a better production. All the Boy Scouts sat perfectly still, so that shows how entertaining it was," said Jeanette VanDerwood, who came to the Soldier Show with her grandson and his Boy Scout troop.
Providing something for everyone is a big part of the Soldier show, explained Sgt. Emily McAleesejergins, a performer in the show. She said that after several auditions, Soldiers selected for the show travel for nearly a year, and make over 120 stops at installations in the United States and overseas.
"It's an exciting and exhausting experience that allows me to do something that boosts morale," she said.
For many, including Enterprise resident Mark Maxwell, the Soldier Show was surprising both for the quality of the performance and because it showcased the many talents of Soldiers.
"Before coming to the Soldier Show, I wouldn't have thought that the Army could put on such a great show. It's awesome to see Soldiers doing something that helps boost morale and presents an entirely different side of the Army life to civilians," he said.