Beaumont Soldier participates in ACM presents: An All Star Salute to the Troops
By Julia Yubeta, WBAMC Public Affairs:
Paying tribute to the U.S. military seems like a natural fit for country music. When all is said and done, no genre of music embraces patriotism with such fervor as country music.
Spc. Kelly Gregg, a patient administration specialist with William Beaumont Army Medical Center, was a proud participant in the “Academy of Country Music Presents: An All-Star Salute to the Troops.” The concert was held in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas April 7 honoring the country’s remarkable service men and women. Proceeds from tickets sales benefit ACM Lifting Lives, the charitable arm of the Academy.
Gregg submitted an application for the concert in December, after hearing about it from a co-participant from the 2013 Soldier Show. On Feb. 28, she heard from Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Community Relations, that she, along with six other service members, had been accepted to perform during the salute. The ACM provided transportation and lodging costs to the service members.
During the concert, the service members performed with a country music band or artist. Gregg was selected to perform with The Band Perry. Their rendition of “If I Die Young,” with the vocal accompaniment of Gregg, resulted in an audience request for an encore.
“We received a standing ovation when we first entered the stage, and again when we finished our encore performance,” she said. “What a night!”
Gregg’s first rehearsal with the Band Perry was in the comfort of their hotel room, at their invitation.
“They were really cool,” she said. “It was so chill – we were just sitting around jamming.”
After hearing Gregg sing, Kimberly Perry, the lead singer, said she didn’t have to worry about Gregg’s vocals and graciously said “you can have half the song.”
Gregg said The Band Perry believed in many rehearsals before live performances. There were multiple rehearsals – both informal and formal.
“I wasn’t at all nervous, well maybe just a little as I approached the stage,” she said. She added that once they started performing the jitters went away.
“It seems surreal now,” Gregg said. “What a monumental experience.”
She added she has fulfilled a dream – one she never imagined could be so all encompassing. Gregg met country artists such as Toby Keith, Kellie Pickler, Faith Hill, Carrie Underwood, the list goes on and on.
“I shook hands with George Strait, ACM’s Entertainer of the Year,” she exclaimed.
Gregg plans to continue her military career and to excel at her job as a patient administration specialist.
“I will also continue to jump at any opportunity to perform for my fellow Soldiers and their families,” she said.
Gregg feels country music naturally lends itself to relating to others.
“For me, no matter how far away the Army sends me, I can still listen to country music and feel as though I am home,” she said.
Col. Michael S. Heimall, commander, WBAMC, is proud to have Gregg as a Soldier in his command.
“She is an exceptional Soldier and does her job incredibly well,” he said.
Heimall added that she is also a gifted music artist and entertainer and is a perfect example of the quality of Soldiers across Army Medicine.
NOTE: The concert was taped and will air on May 20, CBS, at 8 p.m. MDT, in support of Armed Forces Day.
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