After applying to be a member of the U.S. Army Soldier Show five years in a row, Sgt. 1st Class Henry Slaughter finally made it to the audition phase without deployments or permanent changes of station getting in the way.
But his chance of singing and dancing on stage changed after being asked to serve as the noncommisioned officer in charge of the production.
“Our director basically said, ‘I knew you came here to be a short stop but I need you to play left field,’” said Slaughter, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “I was pretty gutted by that, but (being the show’s technician) is also equally important.”
Despite his change in job, Slaughter still gets to entertain as the master of ceremonies for the show, themed “Ready and Resilient: At Your Service,” which comes to Fort Hood Aug. 9 and 10.
It’s a 75-minute family-friendly song and dance production featuring 22 soldiers from across the nation.
“Even though I’m not going to be performing, it’s going to be great to be back (at Fort Hood). I’m very invested in the show and I’m very proud of it,” Slaughter said. “I love it. I can’t wait.”
More than 144 soldiers applied, but only 25 made it to auditions, where they spent a week of singing, dancing and learning choreography and technical work so the production staff could see where they stood.
Like many other soldiers performing, Slaughter, who writes his own country and acoustic pop-style songs, said music has always been a part of his life.
“I’ve been involved in some way, shape or form with music,” he said. With the experience he gains during the traveling show, Slaughter hopes to one day become a permanent staff member at the show’s office at Fort Sam Houston.
Slaughter said the show is physically demanding, and cast and crew sometimes work until 2 or 3 a.m.
“It’s some long hours,” he said. “It’s not all autographs and sunglasses. Everybody works (to put up and tear down sets).”
This year’s show features two Fort Hood soldiers. Read more about Sgt. Ena Torres’ journey to the U.S. Army Soldier Show in next week’s Fort Hood Herald.