Taking the show on the road
February 7, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- A pair of Soldiers from Fort Jackson have been selected to take part in the 2013 U.S. Army Soldier Show, one as a performer, the other as support.
Capt. Maxine Reyes, director of the Basic Office Leader Course for the Financial Management
School of the Soldier Support Institute, was selected to be one of the musical performers in the international tour of Army posts staged annually by Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command. Active duty, National Guard and Reserve Soldiers are eligible to be nominated to perform in the show and must take part in a rigorous video audition process for Army Entertainment.
"I've been singing since I was a little girl, but I was so shy that I'd never let anyone hear me," Reyes said. "I started singing in the church choir in high school and didn't want to do it by myself because I was always scared."
Friends convinced her to compete in a talent show, and she eventually worked up the courage to test her abilities in a local contest. Reyes and a partner took first place for a duet rendition of "Always" by Atlantic Starr. Her solo performance of "Save the Best for Last" by Vanessa Williams did not go as well, though.
"My solo came in fifth place against 22 contestants," she said. "If I didn't forget some of the words, I might have gotten first or second place. But it encouraged me to continue to sing. I wanted to pursue it, but not without getting a degree."
After high school, Reyes joined the Air Force, which paid for her college education before she transferred to the Army.
"I knew about the Air Force version of the Soldier Show, but I've been married for all of my adult life and didn't want to leave my husband for a year," she said. "So, when I joined the Army, he deployed to Afghanistan for 15 months, then again for 12 months. After that, I got used to him being away and decided I could do the Soldier Show."
As a Reservist, Reyes performed the National Anthem at the Republican National Convention in Miami for President George W. Bush in 2004. Convention organizers heard about her talents from the management of the Florida Marlins, who had previously asked her to sing at local sporting events.
"What's more intimidating for me is singing for my peers and leaders," she said. "If I'm off post, I feel more relaxed. I just don't get into my comfort zone when I'm doing it among my peers. Off-post, I feel like I can be 'the artist.'"
As part of the audition process, Soldiers are required to demonstrate more than just musical talent. The Soldiers chosen to participate must also demonstrate excellence in their military duties.
"Capt. Reyes is a talented young financial management officer as well as a gifted singer. Best of luck to her as she joins the Soldier Show," said Ralph Allison, chief of staff of the Soldier Support Institute.
Staff Sgt. Robert Isom, a drill sergeant with Task Force Marshall, was also selected to take part in the tour, though not as part of the entertainment staff.
"They've requested me for advance personnel," Isom said. "I'll be one of the Soldiers who goes out before they tour, sets up the venues and establishes bases to make sure the Soldiers have everything they need to perform."
Isom will be with the performers for the duration of the tour, he said.
"I'll be on the road with them for the whole time," he said. "I was actually part of the show in 2006. It was outstanding. Being a drill sergeant, it's a totally different experience. To be a part of what they do for the Soldiers deployed overseas and the families back here, it was a great experience."
Reyes and Isom will be back to Fort Jackson at least once before the end of the tour.
"The Soldier Show will make a stop here, so we'll definitely be back," Isom said.