Tops in Blue brings show to Academy

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Don Branum
  • U.S. Air Force Academy Public Affairs
The Air Force performing unit Tops in Blue brought its show to the Arnold Hall Theater here for two shows Saturday and Sunday.

Cadets got to watch a show Saturday night, and the local community turned out to fill the theater for the Sunday afternoon performance.

"This is the second-best Tops in Blue ever," said Mike Egan, a member of the 1953 Tops in Blue group. "You understand I'm a little biased."

Mr. Egan praised the "incredible array" of individual talent.

"There are more good individual voices in this group than just about any group I've seen," he said. "And some of the numbers ... wow!"

The show was especially meaningful for Mr. Egan, whose usher was his grandson, Cadet 3rd Class Henry Egan of Cadet Squadron 23.

Tops in Blue consists of Airmen from around the world who auditioned for spots with the group in late 2009. Auditions were held at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, in December. Among the performers who made the final cut was Staff Sgt. Candice Fagan, an intelligence analyst stationed at Kadena Air Base, Japan and mother of two.

"I actually auditioned when they came to Kadena," the Waldorf, Md., native said. "It's been a lifelong dream to do something like this. I've been singing since I was a little girl: I would sing along to Whitney Houston. My dad played it all the time."

At the time Sergeant Fagan found out she'd been selected, she was working as a First-Term Airmen Center instructor.

"I let my students know, and they made me sing the national anthem," she said, smiling.

Sergeant Fagan's singing career up to that point had consisted mainly of singing the Star-Spangled Banner for official events, which she started doing shortly after her roommate at technical school found out she had talent.

Her favorite stop on the tour so far, she said, was when Tops in Blue performed for the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia.

"I've been deployed there so many times, I was used to the base," she said. "To go back as something other than an intel analyst was fun because I got to give back in a different way."

While Sergeant Fagan and the other Tops in Blue performers did their thing onstage, Airman 1st Class William Anger made sure they sounded right from his station in the theater's back rows. Airman Anger, a C-17 Globemaster III crew chief with the 736th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Dover Air Force Base, Del., is the group's audio engineer.

"I originally worked as a sound engineer at the base chapel," Airman Anger explained. "The folks there encouraged me to fill out an application, and lo and behold, I was accepted."

The Denver native said he knew Tops in Blue was something he wanted to be a part of, having seen several previous shows. For him, the tour stop that held the most meaning was the group's show at Sather Air Base, Iraq, earlier in the season. However, he was happy to be back in his old stomping grounds as well.

"I have friends and family (who came) to see the show," he said. "It's a good chance to share with them a bit of where my life is right now."

If you want to be a part of the 2011 Tops in Blue team, go to www.topsinblue.com and click on "Application" at the top of the page. The deadline for applications is Nov. 5.