PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. -- An Army specialist sang her way to first place and a $250 check in front of a packed Hobson Center during the annual Presidio has Mad Talent singing competition, Sept. 20.
Spc. Blanche Green, 229th Military Intelligence Battalion, won the competition, Spc. Albert Lee from the same battalion, placed second, and Airman Jeremiah Smith, 517th Training Group placed third. The Air Force won the $250 spirit award for out-cheering the other three branches.
The competition was divided into two parts. Competitors sang Disney songs for the first part, and sang songs of their choosing for the second part of the competition. Four judges scored the competitors, which accounted for half their scores -- while more than 200 audience members cast ballots for the other half of their scores.
Green opened her night with Disney's "Almost There" from the "Princess and the Frog" and closed the night with a rendition of the Leonard Cohen classic "Hallelujah."
The Tagalog language student from the Defense Language Institute said she chose her Disney song, because the movie's main character, Tiana, resonated with her.
"Tiana's really hard working," Green said. "That's me being at DLI, working hard for what I want, and that's to graduate."
She said she choose the crowd pleasing "Hallelujah," because it's a "very familiar, safe song," and demonstrated by the standing ovation she received -- one she can sing very well.
Music, she said, is the centerpiece of her spirituality. Not a classically trained singer, the 29-year-old from Tacoma, Washington, said she sings for her church.
"[Singing] helps me with my faith -- that's how I worship," she said.
Green said the "love" from her supporting friends and listening to her fellow singers made the night an "amazing" experience.
"It's exciting to compete in a way that's not just military," she said. "It's good for all of the ranks to get together and sing."