Sunday, June 05, 2005

Soldier Show

Solo with camo
Originally uploaded by AviatorDave.
Friday afternoon I went out to the Tobyhanna Army Depot, where my squadron headquarters are located. I only knew that there was some kind of public function, and we were invited to put out a table and take the opportunity to interact with the base personnel and the community.

I found out that the event was a performance by Army Entertainment; the 2005 Soldier Show. The cast were all talented amateurs - young men and women from the U.S. Army, from various posts and duties, who perform in this touring show on behalf of the Army's Family Support Center. The show runs 90 minutes, and features all sorts of musical acts; a rock band, solo vocals, hip-hop, and dance numbers.

It was good. Great, even. I forgot about distributing our flyers and enjoyed the show - there were some incredible singers! The rock band opened up the show with a few current songs (hey, according to the program, the Army has a Battle of the Bands!) Other numbers featured some Ray Charles songs, popular again since last year's hit movie, and other soul and pop numbers. I posted a set of photos here.

The theme of the show - despite the glurgy title, "Operation America Cares" - was "A Package From Home", and it wasn't overdone. There was very little flag-waving or gratuitous sentiment; just the occasional reminder that young soldiers stationed overseas can be very isolated from their homes and families, their 'real' lives.

After the show, the performers came out to the main doors and greeted all in attendance, which was a crowd of at least 500. Looking over the program, I read about their backgrounds and military specialties. All the performers have "day jobs", other skills and duties; and are stationed all over the world. They rehearse and perform in this show as TDY (temporary duty) for only six months at a time, traveling to U.S. bases all over Alaska, Korea, Japan and the continental U.S.