FORT McCOY, Wis. -- The singing and dancing of the cast of the 2012 U.S. Army Soldier Show was as hot as the temperatures that had blanketed the Midwest in the week leading up to their July 8 visit to Fort McCoy.
A crowd of nearly 600 packed the 2 p.m. high-energy performance at the Rumpel Fitness Center, said Pam Budda, the Fort McCoy Soldier Show support coordinator. "We love that people want to support our Soldiers, and attending this show was a great way to do just that."
The U.S. Army Soldier Show is one of the premier events produced by Army Entertainment.
Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott said it is one of the largest, free, open-to-the-public community events here at Fort McCoy.
"We are so honored to have the show here for the 20th consecutive year," he said. "To have such a great turnout from the surrounding communities is just wonderful. It's all about community."
"Army Strong," the show's theme, came through loud and clear throughout the 90-minute song-and-dance production designed to accentuate the strengths and resiliency of Soldiers and military Families through modern songs, current hits, vibrant costuming, exciting choreography and spectacular visuals.
The program printed for the show included a message from Installation Management Command Commanding General Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter. Dedicating the show to all servicemembers both past and present, Ferriter wrote, "The production serves as a reminder that the strength of our Nation is our Army; the strength of our Army is our Soldiers; the strength of our Soldiers is our Families; and that is what makes our Army Strong."
Command Sgt. Maj. William T. Bissonette Jr., Fort McCoy garrison command sergeant major, said the Soldiers who make up the cast and crew regularly work 12- to 16-hour days to prepare for this show and still must maintain their military proficiencies. Most will return to their regular jobs within the Army when the 2012 Soldier Show tour is complete.
Fort McCoy Marketing Director Jobi Spolum said "This show is entertainment 'for the Soldier, by the Soldier,' and it never disappoints."
"The production showcases some of the Army's most-talented Soldiers," she said. "Members of the military and civilian communities who attend always comment on what an amazing, high-caliber, professional show it is. It's something you can't really appreciate until you come and experience a show for yourself."
The Fort McCoy performance was approximately the midpoint for the tour, which began in April and will feature 70 shows in at least 31 venues, including a Pacific journey to Hawaii and Japan, before wrapping up in September.
The national sponsor for the 2012 Soldier Show is the Army G-1 Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program's "I. A.M. Strong" Campaign.