VISTA -- It's a long road trip -- 110 performances at more than
Spc. McKenzie Quint, the time spent entertaining people is the ultimate
reward for a soldier.
Fort Huachuca soldier was one of 17 cast members who made it through
the grueling audition process to be part of the 2003 Army Soldier
rewarding, both as a person and as a soldier," Quint said after
the opening show Thursday night at the Buena Performing Arts Center.
all the performers, she not only has to be on stage, she has to
help put up the trusses and sets and take them down after the last
performance in an area. For Quint and her fellow members of this
year's soldier show local, their local shows end today.
who is assigned to the Raymond W. Bliss Health Center as a mental
health specialist, was on and off stage during the performance,
changing costumes for each part of the show.
getting the show ready meant two months of rehearsals before the
first public appearance on the road in May, she said.
most of the performances are in the United States, the cast has
performed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and will go to South Korea in
September, Quint said.
who calls Fort Collins, Colo., home, said her family has seen the
show at Colorado Springs.
has been on the stage since a young age. She has performed in high
school and community theater musical productions. Before joining
the Army, she attended Colorado State University, where she majored
in music production.
friendships develop among the cast members and support team, Quint
no, she doesn't have to use her training as a mental health specialist.
all help each other," she said, as a huge smile broke out on
theme of this year's fast-paced, non-stop 90-minute show is "Legacy."
show opens with Sgt. Ryan Murphy, a Signal Corps soldier from Fort
Belvoir, Va., portraying Irving Berlin, the man credited with being
the founder of today's soldier show. Berlin, a sergeant during World
War I, is a composer of American popular songs, such as "God
Bless America" and "White Christmas." Berlin developed
shows by soldiers for soldiers in 1917.
cast slowly grew on stage until all the performers were present
in Army uniforms from World War I to now. In one segment of the
opening, the soldiers did a co-ed dance routine like the Rockettes
of New York.
show went through the musical styles of the United States.
Benford said this is the first time she has seen a Soldier Show.
was excellent. The talent was great. They exhibited awesome abilities,"
son, James, said the part he liked the most was the hoop dance.
Clifton Falcon Hall, whose veins run with the blood of three tribes
-- Yakima, Picuris Pueblo and Ho-Chunk, did the American Indian
dance. Hall, who is an armor crewman at Fort Irwin, Calif., said
he was nervous doing the dance, which used 13 hoops.
third-generation hoop dancer, Hall said that knowing his mother
was in audience was a little nerve-wracking for him.
the audience, his solo performance using the hoops to create symbolic
eagle wings, baskets and other devices drew applause throughout
his performance and long, loud clapping at the end.
the show, Hall met up with his mother.
Umtuch traveled to Sierra Vista from the Phoenix area. The tribal
judge for the Fort Lowell Yavapai Tribe said performing is in the
father was a hoop dancer and performed at Disneyland. Umtuch said
she also was a performer at Disneyland's Indian Village.
for her son's performance, she made a circle with her thumb and
index finger, holding the three other digits up -- the symbol that
Hall did well.
soldiers gave a slight sigh of reliefs, knowing the toughest person
in the audience was going to be his mom.
Susan Browning, chief of staff of the Intelligence Center and Fort
Huachuca, addressed the audience at the end of the show.
awestruck to be on stage with these soldiers," she said.
show was a performance of the spirit of the United States, which
is what soldiers are doing throughout the world to bring freedom
to others, Browning said.
spirit came to Sierra Vista from White Sands Missile Range in New
Mexico and after tonight's performance it heads to Las Vegas, Nev.,
continuing its six-month tour that ends in November.