Tops in Blue features 171 ARW member, performs locally
By Staff Sgt. Ivyann Castillo, 171st Public Affairs
/ Published September 14, 2010
Sept. 9, 2010 -- The 2010 "We Believe" Tops in Blue world tour, gave an eye-catching, dazzling show Sept. 10 at Moon Park Amphitheater in Moon Township.
The show gave a personal touch since the 171st Air Refueling Wing's very own, Airman 1st Class Lisa Weiss was part of this year's elite group of performers.
With opening remarks from the 171 ARW Commander Brig. Gen. Roy Uptegraff who gave his appreciation to Weiss, the show began with the instrumentalists and vocalists in their red, black and white shimmering outfits singing the Tops in Blue theme song, which gave audience members chills.
"I wasn't sure what to expect because the performance was done by military members, but once it began the show was full of energy and the talent was phenomenal," said Aarika Novelli, an audience member.
Singing songs of different genres and wearing glittery outfits, performing on a stage with light-up effects that also complimented their wardrobe, had audience members singing along. In addition the Tops in Blue performers would surprise audience members by approaching individuals to interact and dance with them, causing everyone else to cheer.
"I couldn't believe she came up and danced with us," exclaimed Tyler who is Chief Charlie Thomas grandson, when Tyler and his friend, Liam were approached by two of the female singers.
"They were so pretty and I think they danced with us because they liked us better," he said blushing.
Popular songs ranging from Motown love songs, to Michael Jackson Beat Boxing to Lady Gaga's unique flair to even comedic drum soloists, entertained everyone of all ages with this caliber of hard work and talent.
The show had a spectacular finale with the vocal artists in their mess dress singing "Believe" and "Proud to be an American." Audience members showed their gratitude by giving a standing ovation.
"After listening to the finale, it really made me proud to be an American again," said Novelli.
After the show some 171 ARW members had a chance to greet and talk to Weiss who was very happy to perform at home. She talked about her experience with Tops in Blue and describes it as "challenging, exciting yet rewarding."
"We work long hours from being on the road travelling from one venue to the next, " said Weiss. "We literally set up the stage ourselves, get ready for the show, do the performance then tear down the entire set and do it all over again."
Though working long hours to make an amazing performance such as the one at Moon Park is a challenge, it is still worth the hard work to the performers who touch people's lives.
"When we went to Iraq to perform for an Army unit, they were so thankful because after being deployed for a long time, we were the closest thing to home," said Weiss.
This expeditionary group of elite airmen performers underwent a vigorous competition amongst hundreds of airmen until the final 37 individuals consisting of vocalists and instrumentalists landed the opportunity to be in this year's Tops in Blue, an unforgettable experience.
And for Weiss after the year tour is over, she will be welcomed back home to Pittsburgh once again to be united with family, friends and her fellow 171 ARW members.