MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
More than 250 Cherry Point patrons crowded the station theater and surrounded the colored lit stage before erupting into a controlled frenzy of singing and applause for country singers Heidi Newfield and Bill Gentry, during the WRNS 2011 Military Appreciation Concert May 25.
Cheers and screams could be heard roaring from outside the theater for several hours through the night.
“It was a Wednesday night party,” Gentry said with excitement. “Cherry Point rocks! The Marines here know how to get down and party.”
Newfield opened up the show with an acoustic-style show, where she and two of her band members played guitars and sang – no fiddles, drums or bass.
“This show is all about giving back as much as I can to the Marines and Sailors of Cherry Point,” Newfield said to the crowd onstage. “I feel humbled when I look out at the crowds and see the men and women who fight to keep our nation safe and free looking back at me. It’s a huge honor for me to perform for these great servicemen and women.”
Newfield played a melody of hits from her new CD and from her former band’s hit list, Trick Pony, before relinquishing the stage to Gentry.
“Events like this let our Marines and their family members know how important they are,” said Gentry. “We, as artists, would like the service members to know that country music (fully supports its military.) You guys fight to keep our country and the world free against all odds.”
Gentry said he feels like the most important part of this show is to give the Marines and their families a break from work and reality, and this is a time for them to sit back, relax and enjoy the music.
“It’s an amazing feeling being up in front of service members performing,” said Newfield. “The more excited and rowdy they get the more amped and energetic we get. Without our servicemen and women, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”
After performing for the Cherry Point patrons, Gentry said he can’t wait to return to the air station and rock the stage all over.
“The energy was great,” said Gentry. “These Marines and their families know how to rock. From the kids on the apron to the older people sitting in the seats and everyone standing up in between they rocked it tonight. I hope they enjoyed the show as much as I did. You could not have found a happier place in the world tonight. The energy and excitement that the Marines had really pushed my band and I to do even better then we usually do.”
Gentry and Newfield both said they love doing shows for service members.
“It truly humbles me to be able to perform for these amazing men and women,” said Newfield. “I feel like the more excited they get the more I give them. If just one of these amazing men and women has a great time then that gives back to me and the other country stars 10-fold.”
Newfield said she loves performing for the troops and wishes they could perform for them more.
“Performances like this give me a renewed sense of joy,” said Newfield. “I’m proud to be an American, and because of men and women like you who sacrifice everything. I am able to entertain millions around the world because of you, thank you all for your proud service and dedication to our great nation.”
Gentry said he feels so alive and excited to be performing for the Marines and their families, and the best part about performing is he knows he is doing what he can to give back to men and women who defend our nation.
“You guys are the reason I get to do what I love,” Gentry said to the crowd. “Without you guys keeping the world safe we wouldn’t have the amazing freedoms we do. You all are the true heroes. Thank you all for coming out tonight to allow us to give back in the little way we can. There is no way I could repay the men and women of our armed forces, but I’ll rock on and give back as much as I can through my music and performances.”