Army Entertainment is Entertainment for the Soldier by the Soldier. We make it happen. Soldiers from around the globe are chosen according to their talents and skills to bring entertainment to our Army Family. It is professional entertainment because our Soldiers nothing less than professional all the time. You can trust us to do things that no other production company in the world can do. All Soldiers, all the time.
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Hundreds of submissions all boiled down to about 70 videos watched at Army Entertainment in JBSA Ft Sam Houston. These were the cream of the crop that made it to the video auditions for the US Army Soldier Show. A room full of civilians, Enlisted and Officers all judged these Soldiers‘ ability to present themselves on video. We will all see in a couple weeks how the “chosen” will present themselves to a live audience.
I am always amazed at how much the scores vary. You would think that, with the sheer amount of criteria that these Soldiers are judged upon, the scores would be similar. Not at all. People have different tastes. One may see a character flaw before another. One may detect a hearing deficiency in a few short bars that another judge didn’t pick up on. One judge may see that slight rhythm glitch that a perform displays.
In the end, because of our well-rounded board-members from various walks-of-life, I feel that we have chosen the best of the best to come to the live auditions. They have a pitch sense, a sense of rhythm, and an artistic sensitivity that is unparallelled. They are all romantic artists. Of course! Who is more romantic than a Soldier? Not many people will die for a way of life… an idea. Soldiers capture the heart and soul of America. We are America. No wonder the Soldier Show continues to draw crowds wherever they go. It’s terrible to see the hordes of people turned away with tears in their eyes when there is no more room left in the house. Some of these people will travel many miles to the next garrison simply to see what they missed – never to be disappointed. This is THE SOLDIER SHOW. Come early. Don’t miss it! To be in that room with your Army Family, shoulder to shoulder, side by side, one unified body with one understanding – life at its fullest – nothing compares to this experience.
My Nutrition Basics – My Philosophy, Not Science
Many views abound when it comes to Nutrition. How can this be? Aren’t we all made of simple cells with similar needs? Absolutely not! All people are complex creatures with various deficiencies and genetic predispositions based upon their ancestry. Maybe my ancestors ate little meat and lots of grains. Well, I probably should eat a similar diet. Maybe my ancestors were hunters and ate lots of meat and veggies. I should follow their lead. How can you know? Some people are lucky enough to be pure-breeds. They can go back to the land of their ancestors and see how their people lived and ate. Most of us are pretty much mutts. We’ll have to do a little experimenting to discover what is right for our bodies.
I generally tend to operate according to a few basic philosophical principles when it comes to nutrition and diet:
- God didn’t mess up. What comes from a farm is better than what is manufactured.
- We didn’t evolve to become big-brained humans by excluding whole classes of foods. We are omnivores, not carnivores or herbivores.
- Generally moderation and balance are the key… unless your goals are extreme. Then an extreme, yet healthy-ish approach is in order.
- Clean eating is great. The body has systems that remove toxins. Don’t worry about a few toxins; they keep the systems running properly, but don’t overdo it often. Don’t test God.
- Don’t be too picky. If you only eat the choice parts you will miss lots of nutrition. Eat a hotdog occasionally… and gnaw the ends of your chicken bones.
- The body will repair itself if you provide the nutrition it needs to fix the issue. That being said, if you lose a finger because you carelessly thought you were tough enough not to get frost-bite, you’ll heal. But you’ll still only have 9 fingers.
- Yes, some people are gifted and can draw nutrients from a rock & still look like gods. I’m not a god. I have to think about what I eat.
- I live a vigorous lifestyle and eat accordingly. If you aren’t willing to chase a large beast, tackle it, overcome it, murder it and eat it, maybe you should eat a more docile diet. Otherwise you probably are not hormonally set to digest it properly.
- People who are “into” artificial sweeteners and fat substitutes are killing their natural instincts of satiation. They will never be satisfied. They live a life of deception, fooling themselves, and often find comfort in tricking others into eating their unnatural non-foods with delightfully tasty recipes. It’s like a religion to these people. Don’t try to change their religion, just lead by example and maybe they’ll catch-on.
- My good old-fashioned 93 year-old grandfather grew up eating potato chips dipped in lard, chased down with a gallon of sweet tea daily. And more salt than you can imagine. How did he survive past 35? Is it possible that fat, salt and sugar are not as bad for me as “they” say it is?
- When you see articles about vegetarians outliving omnivores, remember that I, who eat lean meat and lots of veggies, am lumped into the same category as those who eat fast food for every meal. Don’t trust that kind of shaky science.
- Jesus said that His people were the salt of the Earth. I don’t think he was saying that His people were bad for the other inhabitants. I also think he was in favor of having more of them. In that case, I’ll have a little more salt, please.
- I eat real butter, real sugar and real fat. I think they are food and I would rather have real food in me than something that was manufactured to take its place.
- I don’t think God messed up when he made a cow. I drink whole milk. Besides, the doctor won’t even let my babies drink the lighter milks. And, no; we are not the only animal that drinks the milk of another animal. Likewise I eat whole eggs because God also didn’t mess up when he made a chicken, and I don’t want to insult God.
- I have heard all kinds of stories about pigs being dirty animals and why I shouldn’t eat pork. Chickens are just as disgusting. Fish are too. Think about where eggs come from. Honey is bee barf. Milk is pre-digested food. We’re human. We eat weird stuff. Shut up already!
- I like my food cooked, generally. There are fringe obsessions with raw foods based on shaky science and faith. Those guys are the exception not the rule. Humans generally universally prefer their foods cooked. Maybe we were supplanted here by aliens and need our food to be cooked. Whatever. We all do it except for the freaks. There must be a reason.
- Alcohol and caffeine are mysterious substances that occur naturally and have been proven to be of some cooky health benefit to us. Take them in their more natural forms. When you start drinking energy drinks instead of coffee and tea, and straight liquor instead of beer and wine, you are fooling your body like those zealots who prefer food-substitutes. You’re only a couple steps from smoking crack. Beware!!!
Now that’s family-building. OK. Bad pun. That’s my family. We just built our first gingerbread house together. It was awesome fun. I really cannot believe it came out so great-looking considering how much input we allowed Zsolti to have. From the mixing of the batter, to the roll-out, to the assembly and decoration, we all played a part. Well, Gabor did very little besides add a lot of love and slobber, but we don’t plan to feed it to anyone else.
Being in the Army and a Soldier who’s away from my family half of every year means, Christmas is a time of catching up. We don’t mind if the boys make a mess. We’ll clean up. We don’t care if they get too tired and whine a lot. We’ll tolerate it and get to bed early. Heck I have PT at 0630 in the morning anyway. Christmas is fun and nothing is gonna spoil it.
Zsolti got the race-car he wanted. He was soooooo funny when he woke us up this morning. “Daddy, you gotta see this. You gotta see this!” He got just what he wanted. Of course he did. Tunde PsyOped him into wanting exactly what Santa was going to bring him. My wife’s got SKILLZ. Gabor was happy as snot about everything. Lots of sweets. Lotsa toys. Nothing else matters.
Well, it has come almost as slowly as Christmas but it is here – the deadline for application packets to the Soldier Show. We’ll be presenting a lot of great talent to the selection board in January. Everyone keep your fingers crossed!
Hahaha! I love coins from 3-stars!!! LTG Mike Ferriter congratulated the crew of Operation Rising Star for a job well done for the 9th annual Army-family singing competition. This international production was a success because of a bunch of Soldiers who aspire to rise above and stand strong as beacons of professionalism in an Army that you can trust to get the job done. They, with the help of some key civilians at Army Entertainment made the impossible happen this past week. On a shoestring budget, with almost no outside help (Thank you for your support AKO.) a professional production was broadcast around the globe for the morale of our Army Family.
It was such an honor to be a part of this year’s Operation Rising Star. I am proud to be associated with such a motivated group of Soldiers who really know how to get the job done. A production of this scale would have cost a fortune if done by civilians. Who needs ‘em? We did a professional job with professional Soldiers! We rocked it!!!
The contestants were the top 12 army-family singers from garrisons around the world. They converged to battle it out at Ft Sam Houston, Texas for a grand prize of $1000 cash and a demo-recording package worth $18,000. Many thanks goes to Navy Federal Credit Union for sponsoring this annual competition. Without them it never would have happened.
Sgt. Drake DeLucca only had to introduce himself to get the crowd going at the Armed Forces Celebration Week’s Soldier Show.
“I’m not only the multimedia manager,” DeLucca said from the stage to a packed audience at the July 24th show at the Von Braun Center’s Concert Hall.
“I am a fellow Alabamian! Roll Tide!”
And with that, he got a roar from the crowd like no other…
This was the most incredible article I think anyone has ever written about me and our Show. I really appreciate all our peeps in Huntsville and around the Redstone Arsenal area. They are the greatest!
A Professional Production, Like No Other
There is nothing like working with Army Entertainment.We have been in production for the finals of Operation Rising Star. Every year around the globe, garrisons hold singing competitions. Every year in December, the finals take place in San Antonio at Ft Sam Houston. Amazingly, the Soldiers at Army Entertainment, with the guidance of a few very gifted civilian staff, produce an incredibly professional broadcast production, similar to what you might see on one of the major channels. I am so proud to have been a part of the excitement this year. Tune in to http://oprisingstar.com/ to watch the unfolding of the winner. The talent from our Army Family was extraordinary. The online voter turnout totaled near 130,ooo. I won’t tell you who the winner is because I have sworn not to tell. Go to oprisingstar.com to see for yourself.
Genienne Samuels is our spokes model. I was on the tele-prompt. The judges were some of the best in the industry – internationally renowned country artist Michael Peterson, Debra Byrd from the Voice and Idol and the 12th SGM of the Army Jack Tilley. Together with our online voting audience, we have a new Rising Star. What a blast we had!
I literally see hundreds of videos every year of Soldiers who would absolutely love to be in the US Army Soldier Show. I am always amazed at how many Soldiers have some tremendous talent that they’ve been using to lift morale in whatever unit they happen to be assigned to. Soldiers are such a romantic lot. I guess it takes an idealistic mindset that would send a soul running through hell and high water for nothing more than an idea – a way of life.
That being said, sometimes our Soldiers are still a bit rough around the edges. Often the videos we receive just don’t do their talent justice. So in case you were wondering if your video measures up… here are some do’s and don’ts to help you produce a nice simple video that compliments instead of distracts from your talent.
Common Video Submission Mistakes and Tips
- Denying your true talent – SPC Grainger in this video, thinks he is a serious singer but doesn’t respect his own great dancing ability. On the other hand, if you sell yourself as a dancer but are too timid to sing even though you can, you are denying your gift. Ask your peers and mentors their opinions. Maybe your perception is skewed because you can only see your flipped image in a mirror from one single direction.
- Poor Lighting – Make sure you are well lit but not washed out. The most common mistake is too much back-lighting. I literally have videos of silhouettes. The only features I can see are the whites of their eyes and their teeth. Who is that? I don’t know.
- Rejecting your audience – Don’t state who you are with confidence and then turn away and timidly sing to the corner of the room for your entire song. Likewise, don’t close your eyes and block me out. If you need to communicate something to me, you better acknowledge my presence, stand strong and sing TO me. I may be on the other side of that camera, but you need to be singing TO me, not just in my presence.
- Poor wardrobe choices – Wear something that compliments you. Don’t do your video in your PTs or with a silly cap on. In addition, we are fit, healthy Soldiers who look sexy naturally. If you distract the eye with your skimpy, blatant sexuality, it WILL detract from your performance.
- Not enough variety – If you do three songs that are similar in rhythm and style and mood you demonstrate your inability to adapt to new situations. That is definitely not an Army mentality.
- No musical track – Acapella songs are great, but if your submission includes no songs with accompaniment track, how do we know you can match pitch and sing in tempo?
- No solo footage – It’s wonderful to see someone who HAS and CAN work well in a group, but how will we know which performer is you? What if someone else completely outshines you? What if I call you to find out who that other person is on your video?
- Audio distortion – We know you are professional Soldiers and not professional entertainers, but have a little pride in your talent. Often we have adequate auditions done on high-end phones, but they better be in a proper setting. (see the notes above on poor lighting) If you are in a small room, too close to the mic and the sound is distorting, then you will annoy the listeners instead of entertaining them. We’ll skip to the next video.
- Obscure song choice – Hearing a familiar song is like seeing an old friend. An audition is your one opportunity to grab your audiences attention. You don’t have time to introduce them to a new song. Grab them with something they will recognize quickly so you can jump straight into the good part of the song immediately without the set-up.
- Have fun! – visualize being in a low-stress environment where you wouldn’t care so much if you make small technical mistakes. I see auditions where people are so nervous that I feel nervous as well. Is that how you want to make your audience feel?
- Be yourself – Don’t try to be someone that you are not. It’s one thing to alter your state of mind and walk a mile in another man’s shoes, but if you’re trying to “act”, look, sound or be some other entertainer, you better be unbelievably believable or no one will trust you.
- Rehearse at performance level – There is a time to break things down “Barney style” for technical skill. but once you know a song, practice at performance level. Imagine yourself in front of 10,000 people. When you get the chance to actually perform in that setting you want to definitely be prepared for that situation. So do the Soldier thing – train like we fight.
- Leave them wanting more - Often we have video in excess of 10 minutes for a single talent. When was the last time you sat and watched an info-mercial? When was the last time you had a marathon viewing of dozens of info-mercials, one right after the other? Have pity on our selection board; edit your videos. Show only what you want them to see. Keep it short. Keep it simple. Over and out.
- Be a story-teller – You are a leader. You are in front of people to convey some message, moral or story. Communicate with them. Be “IN” the situation that you are conveying so they can simply empathize with you. Don’t “try” to “feel” it. For instance, the National Anthem. Remember how you felt when you peered between the cell bars that early morning and saw, by the light of the bombs bursting in air, your beautiful, tattered flag still waving? If you cannot remember that moment, sing something else.
SGT D says:
Remember. Be professional. Stand Strong. Increase the trust. Never circumnavigate without properly informing. Always respect the Support Chain and Command. Mind what is in your charge until you are no longer in charge of it. Don’t expect a pat on the back; you’re in the Army not the Air Force. Pat your Soldiers on the back when they deserve it. A pat on the back is not “laying hands on a Soldier”. Patience is a virtue that is possessed by those who rarely get what they want in the Army. Be relentless when the greater good requires it. Remember, things could always be worse… but if you can make it better, do it!!!
SPC Melendez is one of our fearless staff members who mans the phones here at Army Entertainment. Right now, most of her time is spent making sure talent prospects for the 2014 US Army Soldier Show have all the paperwork required for consideration. Hundreds of Soldiers apply every year to be a part of the Soldier Show, but only a handful are chosen to come to the live auditions. Soldiers like SPC Melendez are true professionals who operate behind the scenes and are a first point of contact for Soldiers wanting to be a part of our grand mission – Entertainment for the Soldier by the Soldier. You can always trust these guys to stand strong till the end and complete the mission.