Members of the 2012 Tops In Blue troop perform a song for the Malmstrom Air Force Base and Great Falls communities June 27 at the Montana ExpoPark. Their show, titled “Listen,” engaged the audience through a dynamic array of rhythms and sounds they may hear every day. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)
Senior Airman Joanell Jacques, 15th Air Support Operations Squadron RF transmission journeyman; Fort Stewart, La.; sings a song for the audience while other members of the Tops In Blue troop accompany her in the background. Their performance titled “Listen” featured songs by The Doobie Brothers, Earth, Wind and Fire, Whitney Houston and Maroon 5. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)
All of the male members of the Tops In Blue troop perform a song together during their concert for the Great Falls community June 27 at the Montana ExpoPark. Tops In Blue travels the United States and to 20 different countries performing for military personnel and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)
From left to right, Senior Airmen Brandi Skillman, 5th Force Support Squadron services journeyman; Minot Air Force Base, N.D.; and Jessica Cunningham, 72nd Medical Operations Squadron medical technician journeyman; Tinker AFB, Okla.; and Capt. Ashley Elmore, 28th Force Support Squadron officer; Ellsworth AFB, S.D.; sing and dance together on stage during the Tops In Blue performance June 27. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)
Tech. Sgt. Tonie Marshall, 849th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron RF transmission craftsman; Holloman AFB, N.M.; belts out a solo during the Tops In Blue concert for the Great Falls community. Marshall was one of 30 performers and six technical staff members traveling with the Tops in Blue tour this year. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)
Airman 1st Class Timothy Sentz, 375th Communications Squadron client systems apprentice; Scott AFB, Ill.; talks to the audience about the value of country music before performing a solo. The Tops In Blue troop performed different genres of music so that all types of music fans could enjoy the performance. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)
Capt. Ashley Elmore, 28th Force Support Squadron officer; Ellsworth AFB, S.D., left; as the main singer and Staff Sgt. Robin Elrod 303rd Intelligence Squadron cryptologic language operator; Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea; sing “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood with help from other Tops In Blue members in the background. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)
Senior Airman Charles Cooper, 86th Vehicle Readiness Squadron vehicle operator; Ramstein Air Base, Germany; performs an interpretive dance to the song “Grenade” by Bruno Mars dressed as a mime. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)
Col. H.B. Brual, 341st Missile Wing commander, right, coins the members of the 2012 Tops In Blue tour following their performance June 27. Brual opened their ceremony by thanking the service and community members in attendance and acknowledging the talent of the performers. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Turner)
by Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
7/6/2012 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Hundreds of Team Malmstrom and Great Falls community members came out to experience the sights and sounds of Tops in Blue, the U.S. Air Force's premier entertainment group at Montana ExpoPark on June 27.
Following a presentation of the colors by Malmstrom Air Force Base's honor guard, Col. H.B. Brual, 341st Missile Wing commander, introduced the group to an anxious crowd and the proud family of Great Falls native, Staff Sgt. Daniel Knight, 21st Medical Operations Squadron health services management craftsmen; Peterson Air Force Base, Colo.; and trombone player for Tops in Blue.
"These 36 Airmen from all over the world, representing 36 bases, are some of the most talented people you'll ever meet," Brual said. "I'd like to take a moment to say thank you from all of our Airmen here for your outstanding support on a day-to-day basis. We certainly could not perform our important mission for our nation without the tremendous support we receive from this wonderful community."
Comprised of talented vocalists, musicians, dancers and technicians, the team's tour for this year is entitled "Listen" and featured an array of vocal and instrumental songs, and a mime dance routine.
Just as the show appealed to the young and old, and gave a taste of popular songs by artists such as Carrie Underwood, Adele, the Doobie Brothers, Earth, Wind and Fire and Michael Jackson, performers consisted of first-term Airmen, officers and senior non-commissioned officers.
For one current Tops in Blue performer, Tech. Sgt. Tonie Marshall, 849th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron first sergeant; Holloman Air Force Base, N.M.; this year marks her second time as a Tops In Blue performer. Her experience being easier the second time around, she said.
"I already know what to expect; I know the long hours of working and unloading more than 60,000 pounds of equipment and I know that singing is only 10 percent of the job," Marshall said. "But when we get a chance to give the audience a great show, I think it's the best part."
While some prior Tops in Blue performers had the chance to do it all over again, others had the chance to reflect on their experiences as they mentored the new crew.
"Seeing this year's Tops in Blue crew really makes me miss the fulfillment and camaraderie I got out of it, especially when I had the chance to make someone's day better," said Senior Airman Patrick O'Shaughnessy, 12th Missile Squadron missile chef and 2011 Tops in Blue World Tour vocalist.
"For most of the people here, music is their passion," said Senior Airman Ryan Ratkowski, 341st Civil Engineer Squadron member, and 2011 Tops in Blue World Tour musician. "I miss the experience of it all. Even though I remember working 24-hour shifts and nights where I didn't get any sleep, when I do what I love it's easy to put all of my time into it."
Tops in Blue travels around the world performing for Air Force personnel and their families; this is their 13th performance. Their next performance will be at Minot Air Force Base, N.D.