By Rob McIlvaineApril 30, 2010
FORT BEVOIR, Va. (April 26, 2010) -- This year's Soldier Show opened with a preview performance in the Washington, D.C., metro area April 24, with many attendees wearing their dress blues as they participated in this revue's 27-year traditional event.
Not many of them remained sitting when the curtain opened to the 22 active-duty Soldiers who leaped out onto the stage to perform rousing renditions of heavy metal, rock and roll, Gospel, ballads and country during the 75-minute show titled "Soldier Show 27.0."
"For this typically reserved VIP crowd to jump to their feet, clap their hands and sing along with the production numbers is an amazing tribute to the talent and amount of hard work these young Soldiers have put to their performances," Production Director Victor Hurtado said.
The show's theme gives much ado about...something that affects Soldiers in war and peace - the personal computer revolution of 1983.
"Our Army is the most technologically advanced fighting force in the world," said Maj. Gen. Reuben D. Jones, FMWRC commanding general.
"We're adapting new technology, like social media, to help keep Soldiers connected to their families and friends no matter where the mission takes them."
This edition pays tribute to that change. The staging and pacing of the songs ebbed and flowed like traffic on the information highway, from the crescendo heights to quiet ballads.
"We needed to give both the performers and the audience a break with those lower key moments," said Hurtado with a smile. The audience, oblivious of any staged "breaks," rose fervently and sat quietly with their eyes never leaving the stage.
Every performer is a Soldier and their jobs range from supply clerk, geospatial engineer and logistics supply to dental specialist, cryptologic linguist and animal care specialist during their regular Army or National Guard duties. Their stage performances were acquired with the same intensity and hard work.
"They had to be at PT at 6:30 every morning. From 9 a.m. until 10 p.m., they worked on their dance routines and singing, six days a week, since the middle of February," Assistant Choreographer Ashlee Jones said.
The effort showed.
"I saw a rehearsal last Thursday and then the dress rehearsal this Thursday and the difference was amazing," FMWRC Sgt. Maj. Tammy Coon said.
Glenn Smith, international concert promoter and co-owner with his wife of Glenn Smith Presents, Inc., who saw the Friday night show couldn't believe how well the cast performed in such a short amount of time.
The show's finale featured "We're Gonna Make It," a song written by the cast who were inspired by Comprehensive Soldier Fitness goals of increasing resilience and enhancing performance.
"It's an amazing song that gets right to the point," said Maj. George Williams with CSF, a sponsor of the 2010 Soldier Show, along with the Army G-1's Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention, or SHARP program.
Capt. Gabriel Granados, commander of Army Entertainment Division, sums up what they said in song:
"The courage it takes for these Soldiers to get on stage and perform a 75-minute routine is tremendous. Not only do we take them out of their comfort zone and make them do things they are not used to, we ask them to do it in six weeks. This includes the vocal training, choreography, scene/costume transitions, set build/tear down, and more."
"To successfully manage this tour, all Soldiers gain strength from each other, family members, religious beliefs, physical training, and self preservation. Once a Soldier becomes comfortable with the daily routine and confident with their performance, they shine. They shine because they put their heart and soul into something they love to do for the many men and women that play a part in protecting our way of life, be it military, civilian, family members, or retirees."
"I applaud all the Soldiers that have taken time to give back a little something for our sanity, for our morale," Granados said.
For the schedule and much more, visit http://www.armymwr.com/recleisure/entertainment/soldiershow/default.aspx.
(Rob McIlvaine writes for FMWRC Public Affairs.)