Rising Star rocks Tropics

| September 1, 2011 | 0 Comments

Top singing talent shares spotlight for one evening at Tropics Recreation Center

Pvt. Kristopher Gonzalez, HHT, 2nd Bn., 14th Cav. Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID, sings his way to victory.

Pvt. Kristopher Gonzalez, HHT, 2nd Bn., 14th Cav. Regt., 2nd BCT, 25th ID, sings his way to victory.

Story and Photos by
Stephanie Bryant
U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Pvt. Kristopher Gonzalez, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 2nd Battalion, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Inf. Division, took first place in the Operation Rising Star finals, at the Tropics Recreation Center, here, Aug. 19.

Operation Rising Star, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, is a Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation program that is organized like the “American Idol” contest.

The local competition started with 15 contestants, Aug. 5, and Gonzalez sang his way to first place.

Gonzalez, one of six competitors at the finals, won the first-place prize of $500 and a $100 Exchange gift card, as well as a chance to move on and compete at the 2011 Army finals.

Gonzalez is no stranger to performing and first place, as he also took first place in the Better Opportunity for Single Soldiers’ “Star Search” talent contest back in May.

For the Operation Rising Star finals, Gonzalez performed a medley of 50s music and described winning as being “cav-tastic.” But he was even more proud of the support he received from his unit; the HHT provided the most audience members throughout the whole competition and gave the loudest applause level. For its support, HHT received the Spirit Award and a check for $300.

“It’s an awesome feeling to win,” Gonzalez said. “The support (from my unit) is great, and they are all like family.”

Compared to last year, this year’s competitors relied on their musical talent as well as their singing abilities. Four of the final six contestants played their own instruments as they sang their last song of the competition. For Gonzalez, who played the guitar, his talent proved a huge success.

The contest was not just fun and exciting for the contestants, but for the judges as well.

Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Williamson, senior enlisted leader, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, looked forward to judging the competition. He said he looks for the contestant who distinguishes him or herself and does something outstanding.

“This is my fourth year judging Operation Rising Star,” Williamson said. “I enjoy seeing all the raw talent.”

Brett Harwood, managing/artistic director, Army Community Theatre, Fort Shafter, and Kelly Poll, an active member of the theater and music crowd, were also judges.

Olivia Perez-Breland, a family member with Headquarters and Headquarters Bn., 25th ID, took second place and was awarded a $250 check and a $75 Exchange gift card, while third place was awarded to Pfc. Thomas Arachtingi, Company C, 205th Military Intelligence Bn., 500th MI Bde., who received a check for $100 and a $50 Exchange gift card.

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