By Bob Mathews, FMWR Marketing SpecialistOctober 7, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - Ask Pfc. Joseph K. Shaw of Hunter Army Airfield about being a performer in the 2011 U.S. Army Soldier Show and his excitement, pride and enthusiasm pour out.
Generously sprinkled in his conversation are words and phrases like "perfect opportunity," "once in a lifetime," "we're 20 of the Army's best performers" and 18- to 19-hour days are "worth it" because "we put a smile on somebody's face."
All in all, being in the show is a "pretty cool deal," said Pfc. Shaw, who is a petroleum laboratory specialist with the 260th Quartermaster Battalion HHD when he isn't playing the piano, dancing and singing with the Soldier Show.
Private First Class Shaw and the19 other performers and four technicians who make up the carnival-themed 2011 U.S. Army Soldier Show will do two shows at Fort Stewart and one show at Hunter this month.
Private First Class Shaw, a native of Hot Springs, Ark., has been traveling around the U.S. and overseas with the Soldier Show since May.
He does vocals, plays the piano and does "a little bit of dancing" in the 90-minute, live musical show. He is lead vocalist on the song, "Country Thang."
Travel is one reason he is glad he was chosen for the cast.
"I'm touring the world and getting to see places that people can only dream of," Pfc. Shaw said. "That was one reason I joined the Army. I was hoping to travel, and this was the perfect opportunity for that. We have been over in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. At the end of the year, we'll go to Korea."
Private First Class Shaw and fellow cast-members do more than perform.
"We also are our own stage hands," Pfc. Shaw said. "We have to build our stage, and then perform and then we have to tear it down. Sometimes we are looking at 18 to 19-hour days, but in the end, it's worth it. It's appreciated by the people we perform for."
They also are assigned other responsibilities, such as wardrobe, lighting, staging and audio.
"It is my responsibility to make sure all of our costumes, our uniforms are squared away, that they are ironed, they're steamed and they look good for stage," Pfc. Shaw said. "So, if something doesn't look right, it can fall back on me. That's probably one of my biggest responsibilities for the show."
The "For the Soldier, By the Soldier" show is sponsored by Army G-1 Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention Program and Navy Federal Credit Union.
Private First Class Shaw is sold on the show and doesn't want anyone to miss it.
"I think we are 20 of the best performers in the Army and we are getting to show our talents with the Families of Soldiers, with Soldiers and communities. It's a pretty cool deal. We not only defend our country, but we put a smile on somebody's face by showing what we love to do, by singing and dancing and playing music," he said.