Family and MWR Marketing Publicity Specialist
FORT STEWART, Ga. - The 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show, a non-stop, constantly-moving song-anddance production featuring a variety of genres, is coming to Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield in October.
This year, two Fort Stewart soldiers are among the cast of performers – Sgt. Kevin Cherry of the 3rd Infantry Division Band and Spc. Alvaro Loaiza of the 92nd Chemical Company.
Sgt. Kevin Cherry
It took all the “military bearing” Cherry could muster to keep his emotions in check the first time he performed the Michael Jackson tribute in the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show.
As a big fan of Jackson, he said, he found doing the tribute “emotional.” Now, he says, he is excited to sing the songs of a musical legend.
“I feel calm; I feel energetic, because I love performing, and I am paying tribute to a musical legend icon,” he said.
And one of his greatest rewards of being a member of this year’s Soldier Show is to see the audience’s reaction to the Jackson tribute.
“People come through the reception line, they give me a hug and they have tears in their eyes. They tell me I remind them so much of Michael,” Cherry said. “They say they have seen Michael in concert, and the tribute brings them back to a place and a time in their lives when they were younger.
“I feel blessed that I can actually bring that to life for the people.”
Cherry, a 12-year Army veteran, plays the saxophone and has been in the 3rd ID Band since June of 2008. His wife, Shun Cherry, and son, Dorian Givens, 17, live in Richmond Hill.
This year’s Soldier Show is an encore for Cherry, who was in the 2004 show. He also performed at the Army Birthday Ball in Washington, D.C., in 2006. The post-show reception line is a special time for Cherry.
“I see people with tears in their eyes, people who have lost someone in the war, or lost someone on 9/11,” he said.
“We pay tribute to the veterans, and you see them come through. It is a great reward and also a blessing to me to see how we affect people, mainly our soldiers’ families.”
From the stage, Cherry said, he can see the audience is enjoying the show.
“From beginning to end, the audience is constantly on their feet,” he said. “This is a show to be seen.”
Spc. Alvaro Loaiza
There was a time when few people knew that Spc. Loaiza, a supply clerk with the 92nd Chemical Company at Fort Stewart, is a talented pianist. That time is gone.
Loaiza’s secret is out, thanks to the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier Show. Audiences across the United States and in other parts of the world now have a chance to hear him play on the keyboard.
“My whole life, I have been like a closet pianist,” Loaiza said. “I’ve done a lot of practice, but not many people know that I play. I enjoy being in the Soldier Show, because I can share my talents publicly.” The 2010 Soldier Show not only put his keyboard talents in the spotlight; it also put his composition talents to work. He composed the keyboard music for a solo piece he performs for the finale of the show.
It all started when Spc. Loaiza played a keyboard piece as a contestant in a Rocky’s Zone Soldiers Center talent show and someone suggested he try out for the Soldier Show.
“I sent in a DVD recording, and they ended up accepting me,” he said.
Loaiza started taking piano lessons when he was six.
“I was nine when I started liking the piano because I discovered a pianist named Richard Clayderman,” he said. Clayderman, a French pianist, has released numerous albums.
“I’m in about half of the scenes of the Soldier Show as a keyboard player,” he said. “There are two scenes; in one I sing and march, and the other I’m just sitting there. I’m kind of like a prop, like a construction worker reading a newspaper.”
Loaiza, a single soldier whose parents live in Chicago, said being a part of the show was somewhat stressful at first, while he got used to setting up and breaking down the stage at each venue. But now, “I am enjoying it very much.”
He enjoys seeing the audience’s reaction to the shows.
“Most of the audiences show a lot of excitement, especially during the Michael Jackson tribute,” he said. “That’s especially true of the younger people. You can hear them screaming, you can feel the excitement.”
The 2010 Soldier Show, “entertainment for the Soldier, by the Soldier” will be performed at Newman Fitness Center on Stewart at 7 p.m., Oct. 5 and Oct. 6, and at Tominac Fitness Center on Hunter at 7 p.m., Oct. 13. There is no charge and the public is invited.