Some of the things that may come to mind when seeing Soldiers are drill sergeants, deployments, training, bravery or being resilient. Many people are unaware of the talents Soldiers may have or other capabilities they possess.
In an effort to highlight those capabilities, 21 cast and crew members went through a rigorous audition process that included live auditions, full military screening, fitness testing and months of rehearsing to prepare for the 2014 U.S. Army Soldier Show.
Soldiers from various duty stations performed at the Palmer Theater Friday-Saturday to deliver the "Stand Strong" message to Soldiers, Families, civilians, retirees and Department of Defense employees.
"The Soldier Show is a live Family-style variety show that's hosted by Army Entertainment," said Sgt. 1st Class Frederick McDuffy, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the show this season. "It's a 75-minute live performance delivering the Army's messages through music and dance."
The theme of the show this year includes a variety of topics and issues facing today's Soldiers that conveys the Army's message of sexual harassment/assault response and prevention, suicide prevention and physical readiness training.
The cast includes 16 performers and four technicians that are on temporary duty assignment from all over the world.
McDuffy said the cast had an 8.5-week production period where they trained to put together the entire show and build the stage.
"It's an honor," McDuffy said. "It's the best assignment I've ever had because you get to go around the world and impact people. The best part about this show is the receiving line. When people come and shake your hand, ask for autographs -- they're very emotional and they let you know how much of an impact the show had on them."
The Soldier Show has an impact on the performers, as well. One Soldier talked about her previous experience with singing before she joined the Army.
"I ended up joining the Army and thought singing was not for me when I wasn't able to make it a career," said Spc. Abighail Mary, assigned to Company B, 304th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, out of Camp Humphreys, South Korea. "(Singing) found me again. I'm here doing my passion on stage, and I'm just enjoying it. I can have the worst day, but when I get on that stage, nothing else even matters."
Mary also said she enjoys the fact that through her passion, she impacts people.
"Sometimes people come up to me crying telling me how touched they were about our performances," Mary said. "I'm getting goose bumps just thinking about it. It's very rewarding that I am able to influence people in a positive way all around the world, and it's my favorite part about the Soldier Show."
McDuffy said their performances are all about selfless service, and he enjoys bringing value and raising morale in other people's lives. He said this is a great opportunity to do that.
Spc. Aurielle Polynice with Company F, 2nd Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry
Division, also said that a woman has came to her and cried because of the role she played in her performance. She told Polynice that her husband had passed away.
"It made me feel emotional," Polynice said. "I cried a little with her and gave her a hug."
Polynice said that her peers in the unit look up to her and encourage her."A lot of people tell me that it's cool to go all around the world performing, meeting new people and representing the unit," Polynice said. "My supporters are happy that I am doing this and experiencing different aspects of the military."
Mary said that the showpromotes camaraderie amongs the cast members, as well.After the show, the cast members received accolades from Maj. Gen. Ken Cox, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commanding general.
For more information on the Soldier Show, visit www.armymwr.com/soldier-show.aspx.