Spc. Julio Petersen of the 701st MP Battalion will perform in the 2009 Soldier Show
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (March 13, 2009) — A Fort Leonard Wood soldier has been selected to tour in the 2009 U.S. Army Soldier Show.
After several months of vocal competition, Spc. Julio Petersen, a human resources specialist with the 701st Military Police Battalion, celebrated the news on Feb. 28, following final auditions which were held at Fort Belvoir, Va.
A native of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Petersen has had a passion for music since childhood.
“This is what I love; this is my passion, and has been my passion from the time I was a little boy,” Petersen said. “Music has always been a huge part of my life. I was in my high school choir, and I was in my Caribbean band — for the past five years I was the lead singer.”
The U.S. Army Soldier Show is a high-energy live musical review showcasing the talents of active duty soldiers who are selected by audition from throughout the Army. The show is assembled in six weeks, and then tours for 6-1/2 months.
Once selected to the cast, the soldiers are attached to the U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center (CFSC) for duty with the U.S. Army Entertainment Division for the duration of the tour. The Soldier Show operates as a deployable military unit under the military leadership of the Army Entertainment Detachment’s first sergeant and under the artistic leadership of the Soldier Show artistic director. Soldiers are expected to adhere to military physical fitness, deportment and appearance standards. Soldiers in the cast and crew are assigned specific military responsibilities and show duties commensurate with their rank in addition to their functions and responsibilities within the show, such as vocal director, dance captain, wardrobe/costume manager, technical crew chief and stage manager.
Soldier Show performers progress after they depart Fort Belvoir each spring for a six-month tour of providing “entertainment for the soldier, by the soldier,” the working motto of U.S. Army Entertainment Division. In addition to learning choreography, performers memorize as many as 40 songs ranging from country, R&B, gospel and rock chart-toppers to Broadway tunes, movie themes, oldies, soul, patriotic songs and even classical operatic pieces combined in solos, duets, group and high-energy, fast-paced production numbers that make up the 90-minute show.
Once on the road, soldiers work an average 14-hour day, seven days a week for six-and-a-half months. Totally self-contained, the cast and crew offload, load, set-up, and dismantle 18 tons of equipment at each stop on the tour, including four miles of cable and 100 theatrical lights. During the tour, they will handle more than a million pounds of electrical, sound, stage and lighting gear. Some soldiers have described it as their toughest duty outside of combat.
The Soldier Show is not funded with taxpayer dollars, but with non-appropriated funds generated from business programs of Morale, Welfare and Recreation and with generous corporate sponsorship.
The modern version of the U.S. Army Soldier Show originated in 1983 as an outgrowth of several shows existing in various Army commands, with soldier talent selected from worldwide competition.