The 82nd Airborne Division and the 82nd Airborne Division Band and Chorus are set to host their annual Holiday Concert at the Crown Coliseum on Dec. 10. This event marks a return for the in-person performance of the Holi-day Concert; as last year, the event was an all-virtual event. In 2020 the concert was recorded in the Crown Coliseum with no live audience and released over social media.
"We are thrilled to be bringing this event back for a live audience this year," explained Sgt. 1st Class Tyler Goodwin, band member, 82nd Airborne Division Band and Chorus.
The Holiday Concert will feature several holiday classics. Goodwin explained that his favorite pieces scheduled for the event are "White Christmas," the "Armed Forces Ser-vice Medley," and the "Nutcracker Suite."
"This really gives the amazing vocalists in the Chorus the chance to demonstrate their talents on a classic piece of music," Goodwin said of "White Christmas." While the "'Nutcracker Suite'" is a "beautiful arrangement [that] takes a new twist on some classic melodies and showcases virtuosity from within the band."
Goodwin also explained that the "'Armed Forces Service Medley' is another favorite because "honoring all who have served past and pres-ent in this manner is an amazing experience and allows for a musical tribute that is both entertaining and sophisticated."
Organizers and band members hope the community will walk away from the event with an appreciation of the 82nd Airborne Division.
"The legacy of the Division is rich with history and important military milestones and a concert like this is meant to showcase the diversity and values that all paratroopers live by and promote," Goodwin said. "In addition, we want to celebrate the opportunity to share in the enjoyment of the holidays and live music after such a tumultuous almost two-year period."
The 82nd Airborne Division Band and Chorus will be accompanied by four accomplished country musicians: Craig Morgan, Michael Ray, Abby Anderson and Natalie Stovall.
"This has been a challenging year for so many, and we've asked a lot of our paratroopers and their families," said 82nd Airborne Division commanding general Maj. Gen. Christopher T. Donahue. "We've invited some of the best talent Nashville has to offer to play alongside our band and chorus as a way to give back to our families for all they've given the nation."
A world-renowned fiddler and Grand Ole Opry on-air personality, Natalie Stovall, will serve as hostess for the event. Stovall was also a contestant on season 13 of NBC's"The Voice." While Stovall did not win the competition, she has continued to reach audiences through solo and group performances.
Craig Morgan, originally from Tennessee, is a U.S. Army veteran. Morgan served as a forward observer and started his musical career in 2000. He has charted 17 times over the years. His song "That's What I Love About Sundays" topped charts for four weeks in 2006. Also, in 2006, Morgan was awarded the USO Merit Award for his tireless support of U.S. soldiers and their families. Morgan told American Songwriter Magazine, "Because I have been there, I can appreciate that and have the ability to communicate with them a little differently."
Michael Ray originated from Florida and began his country music career in 2010. His most recent album, "Whiskey in the Rain," was released in September of this year.
Country music personality, Abby Anderson, debuted her musical career at the age of 16 on the Glen Beck show and moved to Nashville after graduating high school in Texas when she was 17 years old. Anderson has performed at the Country Music Awards and has received multiple musical accolades.
Santa will also be at the show and sitting for photos with children from 4 to 6 p.m. The country music performers will be in attendance at a meet-and-greet and take photos with fans from 5 to 6 p.m.
In accordance with Cumberland County mandates, ticket holders must show their COVID-19 vaccination card or a negative COVID-19 test from 72 hours before the event. Masks will be required while in the venue. All tickets are free and available to Fort Bragg soldiers, their families and the general public.
Tickets will be distributed to soldiers and their families through their units. To inquire about and reserve tickets, the general public is asked to contact WKML 95.7 at www.wkml.com or call 910-496-2000.