By Trish Muntean, Fort Wainwright PAODecember 9, 2011
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- (Dec. 2, 2011) "It brings me joy," said Spc. Michael Polmanteer, about singing. "It is just something that I love to do." It also brings joy to those who have heard him sing, which was obvious the night of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Rising Star Competition.
"He is a skilled musician with a pure voice who knows how to tell a story," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jeff Price, commander of the 9th Army Band, who was a judge for the competition. "This guy knows how to sing," he said.
"He has a very pure, distinct and professional sounding voice," said Sgt. Miguel Davis, 9th Army Band, who was also a judge for the competition. Polmanteer is obviously trained and has great potential, he said.
Polmanteer, Medical Department Activity-Alaska, is a nutrition-care specialist by day and chances are that if he is not working, sleeping, or at school, he is singing somewhere and not just alone in his car (although he admits to that too).
He is a member of the University of Alaska's Choir of the North, the Fairbanks Light Opera Theater and sings karaoke whenever he gets the chance at local restaurants.
He started singing in the sixth grade, as part of a choir, about nine years ago. He was facing some challenges in his life and found music to be a good outlet to express himself. Being recruited at the end of his eighth-grade year for specialty choirs made him realize that he had not just a passion for music, but a talent for it as well.
In his freshman year, Polmanteer competed in the Michigan Music Conference. He also performed as a soloist in the district and state competitions, where competitors sing in a language other than their own. Polmanteer sings in Latin, Italian, Spanish and has just recently learned how to sing in German. He estimates that he can sing at least one song in more than a dozen languages other than English.
Presently a student at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, he is working towards a bachelors degree in music education. He hopes to have completed the coursework and become a teacher when he gets out of the Army in 2016.
He is married to Ashley Mabry, a student at Shaw University in North Carolina. She was in the Army four years, got out as a sergeant and is presently in the ROTC program studying business administration. Despite his best efforts, he cannot get her to move to Alaska, but is looking forward to her visits in the spring and summer.
Polmanteer said he wouldn't be who he was today without his foster parents, Connie and Randy Tyler who still reside in his home of record, Allegan, Mich. He lived with them from age 13, growing up with siblings Stephen and Michael Tyler and sister Samantha Polmanteer.
"I love them to death," he said. "They taught me the meaning of family."
It sounds like life has given him plenty to sing about. "It brings me joy," said Spc. Michael Polmanteer, about singing. "It is just something that I love to do."
Polmanteer, Medical Department Activity-Alaska, won second place in the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Rising Star Competition, in September.