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 September 24, 2010

Leisure

2010 Soldier Show brings technology, tributes to Fort McCoy

Soldiers in the younger generation keep in touch and connect with each other through various means of technology while the power of music can bring all generations together. During a special performance at Fort McCoy Sept. 11, all of those means of communication came together with the performance of the 27th version of the U.S. Army Soldier Show.
PHOTO: Soldier Show cast members sing near the end of the Sept. 11 performance at Fort McCoy. Photo by Allan Harding
Soldier Show cast members sing near the end of the Sept. 11 performance at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Allan Harding)
 
PHOTO: A Michael Jackson tribute honored the late singer during the Soldier Show performance Sept. 11 at Fort McCoy. Photo by Allan Harding
A Michael Jackson tribute honored the late singer during the Soldier Show performance Sept. 11 at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Allan Harding)
 
PHOTO: A rendition of “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning,” sung by the Soldier Show cast members honors Sgt. Irving Berlin, the Soldier Show founder. Photo by Jobi Spolum
A rendition of “Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning,” sung by the Soldier Show cast members honors Sgt. Irving Berlin, the Soldier Show founder. (Photo by Jobi Spolum)

A crowd of 850 enjoyed the show, one of the largest crowds at Fort McCoy in the past few years, said Pam Budda, Fort McCoy Soldier Show point of contact.

The generational-bridging performance featured music from the founder of the Soldier Show, Sgt. Irving Berlin, through tributes to a number of generations, including a version of the song “New York, New York,” originally sung by Frank Sinatra.

The show was dedicated to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and kicked off with the Soldiers singing the national anthem. Audience members were given small American flags to show their support.

“The 2010 U.S. Army Soldier show presents a musical extravaganza, showing not only our Soldiers’ talents, but the strength, diversity and teamwork that embodies the meaning of Army Strong,” Maj. Gen. Reuben D. Jones, commanding general of the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command, wrote in the Soldier Show program distributed to the attendees. “The performances span multiple music genres, representing not only the diverse tastes and cultures of our Army Family, but our devotion and dedication to the Army and the nation.”

Soldiers showed their talent by tackling a wide variety of music from country to gospel, rap, hard rock, and special tributes. Three Soldiers — two females and a male — took the audience through singer Michael Jackson’s career, beginning as a child star with the Jackson 5 to his early solo career, epitomized by such songs as “Billie Jean.” One of the Soldiers also honored Jackson’s unique style by donning a sparkling jacket and his trademark white glove and moonwalking across the stage.

Mary Fries of the Fort McCoy Plans, Analysis and Integration Office said the performers connected with the audience by coming off the stage, walking down the aisle into the crowd to sing several numbers and shaking hands with members of the audience.

“The Soldiers were very interactive with the audience,” she said. “I liked the variety of the music, and there seemed to be something that appealed to everyone there.”

Gloria Dutcher of the Fort McCoy Child, Youth and School Services said she enjoyed listening to the Michael Jackson tribute.

“I had a son who was in Show Choir, and I would compare this to going to a Show Choir performance,” Dutcher said.

Debbie Hardie of the Directorate of Logistics said she found the entire production fantastic.

“It’s only the second time I’ve gone, and I took my sister,” Hardie said. “She couldn’t say enough good things about it, and the performers were so talented.”

The Soldiers also held their traditional receiving line after the performance so members of the audience could meet and greet them up close.

National sponsors for the Soldier Show are Army Family Covenant: Keeping the Promise; Army G-1’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program; and the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program. Local support was provided by CASE Construction, Pizza Hut – Tomah, Burnstad’s, Monroe County Publishers and WCOW. No federal endorsement is implied.

“We really enjoy having the Soldier Show come to Fort McCoy year-after-year,” Budda said. “We’d love to have them come back again next year.”

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