World class performance given to Airmen by Airmen

Base Info
Members of Tops in Blue perform at the Taiyo Community Center at Yokota Air Base, Japan, July 22, 2014. They performed a variety of songs from different genres throughout the show. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Meagan Schutter)
Members of Tops in Blue perform at the Taiyo Community Center at Yokota Air Base, Japan, July 22, 2014. They performed a variety of songs from different genres throughout the show. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Meagan Schutter)

World class performance given to Airmen by Airmen

by: Staff Sgt. Cody H. Ramirez | .
374th Airlift Wing | .
published: July 24, 2014

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Tops In Blue showed their support to military members in the Pacific region by performing during the evenings of July 21 and 22 at Yokota Air Base, Japan. The premier entertainment ensemble sang songs from a mixture of genres and eras for the crowd of military members, their families and local Japanese civilians.

"The Tops In Blue concert was an amazing performance," said Tsukasa Hatano, a local Japanese college student. She said that the concert was easy to relate to and sing along with because the group chose popular songs from well-known genres.

Tops In Blue's primary mission is to perform for military personnel and their families throughout the world. For the past 61 years, these performers have promoted community relations and served as ambassadors for the U.S. Air Force as they travel through 20 countries in a 10-month period performing approximately 130 shows.

The group is composed of 35 to 40 of the most talented vocalists, musicians, dancers and technicians in the Air Force. These Airmen, who come from a variety of career fields, always strive to put on a high-energy show.

The mission is large and it keeps the team busy, but Senior Airman Charles Cooper, Tops In Blue performer, said at the end of every day it is all worth it.

"We are rewarded by what we give to the audience," Cooper said. "My favorite part of the job is when I go on stage and give my performance everything I have."

The group isn't always performing on a stage though, they also reach out to youth and Airmen centers and other locations and perform free shows to spark interest and give back to the community.

Cooper said he and other members of Tops In Blue went to sing at a retirement home one day and an elderly woman began to sob.

"It moved me to see her moved by our singing," Cooper added. "I talked to her later and she said her husband [had been] in WWII. She was really touched and it made her day ... so it made my day too."

Whether it is singing for a group of military members, young children or those who have given their time and commitment to this country in the past, Cooper said he is lucky to have the opportunity to do what he loves.

"I joined Tops In Blue because music has always been my first love," Cooper said. "When I found out the Air Force provided you an opportunity to leave your home station and do something that you love to do, I had to take advantage of it."

Cooper said the team of performers spend at least two months of training in San Antonio, Texas, to prepare for upcoming tours and that the training days last between 13 to 18 hours each.

"It is challenging, but they tell you before joining that it will be one of the most challenging things you have ever done in your life, if not the most challenging."

For those who might be interested in applying for Tops In Blue, Cooper recommends those people think long and hard whether it is something they truly want, because once committed, there is no going back.

"I will tell you upfront that it is very challenging, both physically and mentally," Cooper added. "Make sure you are prepared, but if you love to sing or perform, then you should definitely do it.

Those who are interested in applying for the Tops In Blue can find more information and guidelines at https://www.usafservices.com/TopsInBlue/Application.aspx.

Tags: Yokota Air Base, Base Info
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