BAMBERG, Germany -- A year ago Joyce Dodson, an Army veteran and spouse from U.S. Army Garrison Bamberg, was a recording artist only in her dreams. Now she's living and breathing that dream.

Thanks to "Operation Rising Star", a military imitation of FOX's hit show "American Idol," Dodson visited Los Angeles in February to record a three-song demo in a professional studio.

"It was a great experience," said Dodson. "I had awesome technicians around me that were very gifted in their craft. I felt so comfortable."

With her husband accompanying her, Dodson not only had the chance to record in a professional studio, but to attend the 2008 Grammy Awards. Despite the glamour and fame, the Rising Star experience wasn't an easy ride.

To be a successful contender it takes determination, skill, a gift for singing, and a love for the military said Dodson.

Even though her reign as Rising Star's champion is coming to a close as this year's competition is heating up, Dodson continues to work on her music.

"I'm working on writing songs for my future (compact disc)," she said. "So, look out for Joyce Dodson."

Dodson is looking forward to this year's competition and will be singing during one of the Army-wide finals.

Bamberg's Stable Theater will host a preliminary round for all eligible performers on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. Contestants will sing a cappella for a panel of three judges. Third and second place will receive $100 and $250; first place will receive $500 and advancement to the Army-wide finals to compete with other local winners.

James Fredrick, an event specialist at the Stable Theater, said the judges are looking for participants of all styles.

"The only requirement is that you can sing," said Fredrick, who works primarily with the Stable's professionally equipped recording studio.

If you're not much of a singer, there's still a chance to get involved said Fredrick. A $300 cash prize goes out to the most spirited Family Readiness Group or unit. Grab some FRG friends and show up for a night of entertainment.

For more information or for an application for this year's competition contact James Frederick at 0951-300-8647 or visit

This vocal competition is open to all Active Duty, Reserve and National Guard members, as well as all military ID holding family members over the age of 18.

Dodson's "Rising Star" Tips:
*Choose popular music that's going to get the crowd going.
*Choose something that you love and that you feel you can sell.
*Listen to the judges' advice.
*Go to a small studio, like the one at the Stable Theater. If you can't sing there, you can't sing at a professional studio.

Listen to Joyce Dodson's interview at