MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Big speakers and even bigger lights were set on the stage of the Sunset Cinema Theatre. Backstage, participants in this year’s Marines Got Talent contest were adjusting costumes, making notes, and tuning instruments before walking past the giant red curtain to show dozens of spectators what they could do.
Marines, sailors and their families enjoyed a night of music, comedic performance and even magic during the Single Marine Program’s annual Marines Got Talent contest Sept. 6 at the base theater.
Marine's Got Talent is organized by the Single Marine Program, with support from Marine Corps Community Services. This year, 13 Marines and one sailor participated, making 14 acts that ranged from musical performances and dancing routines to comedy and card tricks.
“The mission of this talent show is to build camaraderie and keep (the Marines) active,” said Lovetta Scipio, SMP coordinator, Single Marine Program. “They did such a great job.”
Judges for this year’s show included Sgt. Maj. Scott Cooper, sergeant major, Headquarters Battalion; 1st. Sgt. Adam Gharati, first sergeant, Company A, HQBN; and Cpl. Phillip Mitchell, automotive mechanic, HQBN and SMP president.
“I think the show was awesome,” Mitchell said. “I would have liked to have seen more performers, but every single one that we had made it a great show.”
Despite the pressure someone would normally feel performing in front of not only a large crowd of people, but Marines in their chain of command, every act appeared to be well-received.
“It was fabulous to see the Marines get up there, relax, and show off their talents away from the normal routine,” Cooper said.
According to Mitchell, Marines Got Talent was started as a way for Marines to get out of the mundane work of the Marine Corps and showcase their talent, whether it be with music, dance, or anything. The show proved to be very popular with the Combat Center community.
“I’m proud of everyone that went up there,” Mitchell said. “I know it takes a lot to get someone to come out of their comfort zone.”
The talent show also served as a friendly competition between the participants. Only three participants would leave the show with prizes in hand.
The third-place prize was a $50 Marine Corps Exchange gift card; second prize was a $100 MCX gift card and first prize was a whopping $200 MCX gift card.
Once all acts were complete, the judges came together to decide the winners. Suspense awed the audience as the contestants anxiously waited on stage. The results for this year’s talent show were revealed.
Coming in third was Pfc. Kristian Bandeira, admin clerk, HQBN, for his breakdancing routine using a custom music mix.
Second place went to Lance Cpl. Andrew Burch, admin clerk, HQBN, who performed an original song called “Darlin’ Please” on guitar.
First place was awarded to Sgt. Brandon Valentine, field radio-operator, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, for his performance of “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd on guitar.
With another successful show in the books, many are looking forward to next year’s talent show and other events like it.
“I think we should do more events like this,” Cooper said. “It gives our Marines a setting where they can show some individualism in the right atmosphere. I hope to be here again next year for the next show.”