Soldier takes sound skills coast to coast
By Kryn P. Westhoven, NJDMAVA/PA; photo by Spc. Mark O'Rear, 444MPAD
As Sgt. Jared Morgan worked the controls of a large audio mixing board fine tuning the sound of the 63rd Army Band in the War Memorial in Trenton it was hard not to notice the smile on his face.
It was more than satisfaction of how well the band would sound for the hundreds of families gathering to send off the 1-150th Assault Helicopter Battalion on a deployment to Iraq, it was the news he received just a few days before.
Morgan was going on his own personal deployment, as he was selected to be part of what could be described as the all-star team for Army entertainers; this Jersey Guardsmen was going to part of the 2009 Soldiers Show tour.
The 90-minute theatrical concert production with the theme “Lights! Camera! Action!” showcases the talents of the uniformed performers and highlights the capabilities of the technical staff. Morgan will be at the audio controls during six and a half-month tour that will see the Soldiers perform nearly 100 times on 46 installations, including stops in Hawaii and Korea.
The cast and crew handle 18 tons of equipment for each show. “As a kid I was always into hooking things up,” added Morgan, a skill that will come in handy with four miles of cable in need of connecting to lights and speakers.
Morgan’s interest for the Soldier Show came from another member of the New Jersey Army Guard band Sgt. 1st Class Dexter Hendricks, who had gone to see the show and returned with a program, telling him it was “something he should check out.”
Following Hendricks’s advice, he did a little research on the Soldier Show, learning more about this touring group that goes by the motto “Entertainment for the Soldier, by the Soldier” as part of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs. Morgan started sending e-mails and resumes; weeks later he got the invite to join this year’s tour.
A combination of a four-year degree from Montclair State in Broadcasting and his work as an editor for the CBS network for five-years caught the Soldier Show’s staff attention according to Morgan. He joined the 63rd as a French horn player and migrated to the technical side of the music business over the nearly dozen years he has served in the Guard band.
This opportunity to be part of national touring company is an extension of what he does in the National Guard. “I see this as a bigger opportunity for me,” Morgan said as he plans to bring back many useful ideas to the Sea Girt-based band when he returns in this fall.
Also this year another 63rd Army Band member was selected to join an Army Entertainment touring group as Sgt. Steve Higgins is playing guitar with USA Express across the country.