PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, California -- Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center students traded the classroom for Vitamin D and club tracks after the Commander's Cup relay races at Soldier Field July 21.
Award-winning, San Diego-based band Liquid Blue headlined Army Entertainment's "United We Band" show under a cloudless, sunny sky.
Named "America's Best Dance Band" at the National Music Awards, Liquid Blue holds a Guinness World Record for "song sung using the most languages," which seemed appropriately serendipitous for an audience of military linguists and foreign language students. The band has also earned the title of "world's most traveled band" by performing in more than 500 cities in 100 countries on six continents.
"We are putting on this show to allow the service members and their families to have an opportunity to decompress and have a good time in this beautiful Monterey weather," said Presidio of Monterey Command Sgt. Maj. Roberto Marshall.
Organized by PoM's Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program, comedian Ruperto Vanderpool hosted the show and the opening act, DJ Jena Red, filled out the ticket.
"This is a big highlight of my career," said Red, who arrived here after recently performing for the Army Birthday Ball in Washington D.C. "I love to support the troops and this is my way of doing it."
Red, who is originally from Pasadena, had been living in New York pursuing her music career when she was approached and pitched the opportunity to work with Army Entertainment. She stated that it took about six months to work everything out, but she did her first show in Miami for the Army during March of this year.
"This is my fourth show for Army Entertainment. I could be doing anything else but this is a blessing and I feel so honored to be here," said Red. "If I can bring them any bit of happiness and joy and put a smile on their face, or just have them feel thankful for what they are doing for us, then that is why I wake up in the mornings and am happy I get to do what I do."
Such sentiments were picked up by audience members who appeared to never stop dancing from Red's first song to Liquid Blue's closing number.
"I love music and I love dancing so the Army sponsoring this thing is fantastic," said Pfc. Nicholas Penic, Company A, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion, who had to be pulled from a dancing mob of soldiers, sailors and airmen to answer a couple of questions. "The music is great, the band is great, and it's not just one genre of song, it's several. It's a lot of fun to listen to and great to have this here on base."
Red said she feeds off enthusiasm from those listening to her music and she for sure felt energized by the crowd at Soldier Field.
"The energy out there was amazing, it felt like they were celebrating," said Red. "When they saw me playing and Ruperto (Vanderpool) announcing and performing on the mic, it got everybody hyped up and they all started dancing. Then once they got going, they couldn't stop. I think they were ready to party."
Penic helped to shine a light on why the crowd seemed so receptive for a chance to let loose.
"Learning a language takes up all of our time so having this here on base definitely helps relieve the stress," said Penic. "I think we should absolutely have more events like this."
"I just hope they go home after this and they're like 'that was a great day,'" said Red.
Commander Cup Winners: Women's Relay Team -- Army; Men's Relay Team -- Marine Corps; Overall Best Combined Time -- Marine Corps.