By Sgt. Whitney Houston
Multi-National Division-Baghdad Public Affairs Office
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Entertainment was at its finest in the field house at Camp Liberty Dec. 23, as a collaboration of talent banded together to invite familiar spirits for Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers serving in Iraq through the Christmas season.
MND-B Soldiers celebrated through diversity in music, along with a multitude of funny skits and performances put on by the division Soldiers.
"We were asked to produce a show and have a lot of music, funny skits, all types of entertainment for the Soldiers," said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Robert Nixon, division band commander and native of Lebanon, Ohio, serving with the 4th Infantry Division, MND-B. "So we were happy to put the show together for them using a whole bunch of smaller parts of the band, the choir from the gospel service at the chapel, we used a few soloist singers from the band, we just had a little bit of everything there – we even had an Elvis sing,"
The idea of the Christmas party was to make certain that a familiar spirit was felt by MND-B Soldiers and to make them feel a little closer to home.
"When we left for Baghdad we thought we were saying goodbye to every aspect of normalcy that we enjoy in life, but we got over here and we decided to do stuff like this to remind people here that the leadership here cares, and it boosts their morale and makes them feel a little closer to home," said Sgt. Philip Harvey, who serves with the 4th Inf. Div., MND-B, as the personal security officer, Command Sgt. Maj. John Gioia, the division senior enlisted leader. "It gives these Soldiers a break to distract their mind from the fact that they're in Baghdad, Iraq for the holidays."
To provide this distraction you need more than just raw talent; you also need to add energy to your personality to have the desired effect on the spectators and promote a spirit of daylight heartedness.
"I kind of like to operate under the assumption that the Soldiers are talented and that they have the musical skills necessary to perform, and that makes life a lot easier," Nixon said. "But when it comes time to perform for these Soldiers you have to add more spark and personality, to entertain the audience than just sit on the stage and play music. So we try to inject a lot of activity, enthusiasm and energy into our performance and try to connect with the audience."
To further invite this familiar spirit, Nixon and his crew put together a slide show of MND-B Soldiers given to them through Soldiers and Family Readiness Groups state side to further personalize their festivity.
"We got Soldiers throughout the battalion and Family Readiness Groups back at home to e-mail hundreds and hundreds of photographs," Nixon said. "And we tried to time it so that all of those photos that people had submitted were up on the screen throughout the concert, even during the music portions so that it would have more of a visual impact rather than just having the music playing."
When everything was said and done and Elvis had 'left the building', laughs had and enjoyment provided, MND-B Soldiers left Camp Liberty's field house with lighter hearts and that sweet familiar spirit of home.