By Rachel Ponder, APG NewsFebruary 28, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Nine APG community members took top honors in the 2012 Army Entertainment Festival of the Arts competition.
With their Family and friends cheering them on, awards were presented to the winners by Garrison Commander Col. Gregory McClinton and Command Sgt. Maj. James Ervin at Sutherland Grill Feb. 21.
Army Entertainment, part of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, chose winners among theater, music and special events produced at participating garrisons around the world.
APG's FMWR has participated in the Festival of the Arts program for the past seven years. For 2012, MWR submitted a video of the Sept. 7 Adult Talent Show at the post theater.
"The Army-wide winners are selected by a panel of judges from the entertainment industry," said APG MWR Special Events Coordinator Earlene Allen. "It's a big deal to win."
Rachel Acevedo and Claudia Colemen of CHRA won first place in the Outstanding Group Specialty category. Acevedo sang "On My Knees," an inspirational song by Jaci Velasquez while Coleman did an interpretive dance.
"God gave me a gift; I want to touch others by sharing music," Acevedo said.
Al Carson of ATC; Dave Lockhoff from Top of the Bay; and Mark Frand, a friend of Lockhoff, won first place in the Outstanding Vocal Instrumental Group category. The group they formed for the talent show is called "Who Dat" and they performed "Come Together," by the Beatles.
Staff Sgt. Rasheed Walker of Public Health Command won first place in the Outstanding Rap Artist category. Walker wrote an original song called "Combat Stress" during his second tour to Iraq.
Michael Champion of the CECOM Software Engineering Center Army Reprogramming Analysis Team won first place in the Outstanding Comedy Performance. He performed an opera version of the song "Mr. Brightside," by the Killers.
Military Family member Devin Wesley won third place in the Outstanding Rap Artist Category. Wesley wrote an original song called "Young Sinatra."
"I was surprised," he said. "I have been writing poetry since the third grade. As a young artist I always jump at the chance to perform. I perform at open mic nights as much as possible."
Patricia Devine of MWR won third place in the Outstanding Master of Ceremony category. She has been serving as a Master of Ceremonies at MWR events since 2010 and is the director of the APG Theater Group.
"I just have fun with it," she said. "I like that I get to be behind the stage and encourage the performers."
Allen said the next talent show will be held sometime in September. She said she's hoping to see more variety in future shows and encourages community members to sign up.
"The talent show is open to all MWR patrons," she said. "People can perform spoken word, comedy, dance, instrumental songs and more.
But the annual talent show isn't the only talent she's looking for.
"We are always looking for talent at Open Mic and Karaoke Night. If anyone is interested in showing us what they have, come on over," she said.
Open Mic and Karaoke is hosted by Lou Melo of Melo Time Karaoke and held the third Thursday of each month at Sutherland Grill (the clubhouse at Ruggles Golf Course) from 6 to 9 p.m. The event features free entertainment, appetizers and a cash bar.
For more information on Open Mic, APG talent shows and other MWR special events call 410-278-4011.