By : Pfc. Christina Sinders, 4th Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Public Affairs OfficeJanuary 9, 2009
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (January 2, 2008) - Task Force Currahee servicemembers took to the stage for a talent show at Forward Operating Base Salerno to ring in the New Year.
Donning New Year's Eve hats and toting party favors, the audience was full of energy and responded loudly to every performance. Fifteen performers entertained for the nearly three hours as the show flowed with vocal, dance and musical talents.
Several Soldiers and contractors entertained the crowd with vocal songs such as "Let Me Love You" by Mario, "I Telling You" by Jennifer Holiday and "Play That Funky Music White Boy" by Wild Cherry.
A group of Afghan interpreters from FOB Salerno enthralled the audience with a traditional Afghan dance called attan, which is a common national dance at Afghan weddings and celebrations. Pfc. Geri Duenas, an administration specialist with the 4th BCT Headquarters and Headquarters Company, performed a dance from her native country of Guam.
After the first round, three finalists were chosen by the judges: 1st Lt. Benjamin Bronkema, 4th BCT HHC executive officer; Sgt. First Class Christopher Peveler, 4th BCT engineer cell NCOIC; and Sgt. First Class Beverly Franklin, TF Currahee Brigade Intelligence Support Element NCOIC.
The finalists performed a second time, and then the judging was left to the audience. The louder the crowd cheered for each contestant, the better their score.
The first place award went to Duenas, second place to Maj. Ron Carden from TF Attack, and third place was given to Spc. Nelson Valentine.
The tent walls shook with cheering and deafening applause as the crowd cheered for their favorite performer.
"The show was great," said Spc. Andrea Valeriano, a human resources specialist with 4th BCT. "It was very positive, very active and the performers did a good job of not only keeping the audience's attention but also getting us to participate. It was a good morale event for the Soldier's here. I know I was having fun the entire time."
This isn't the first talent show that has been held here on FOB Salerno, but the audience was noticeably larger than the last talent show in the fall.
"The turnout was more than I expected," said Sgt. First Class Michael Conner, 4th Brigade Combat Team school NCO, and talent show host. "The support and size of the audience, and number of performers was truly amazing."
Conner credits the success of the event to his co-host Sgt. Kellie Mock, 4th BCT HHC supply sergeant; and contestants Spc. Willie Jordan, a TF Currahee topographical specialist; Spc. Kevin Mitchell and Duenas.
"When we were planning the talent show, we thought it might get cancelled," said Conner. "But we made it work and it turned out to be a great success. The performers really put on a great show."