Some of the red, white and blue's most talented active military, Tops in Blue, will perform in concert Monday night at Marshall Auditorium.
The free concert, scheduled for 7 p.m., is the second performance of the 2012 season for Tops in Blue, a collection of entertainers from within the ranks of the U.S. Air Force. The season began last Saturday in San Antonio, and the Marshall show is the first of three visits to cities located by the state's Air Force bases.
The show features a pair of vocalists from New Mexico installations among its 36-member crew — 1st Lt. Kandis Rich of Kirtland Air Force Base and Tech Sgt. Tonie Marshall of Holloman Air Force Base.
The band has been entertaining audiences for 59 years throughout the United States and more than 20 foreign countries, which includes entertaining troops stationed in Iraq, Qatar, Afghanistan and Kuwait.
Throughout its history, Tops in Blue has traveled more than 4 million miles to military bases throughout the world, performed at six world fairs, more than 100 state fairs and festivals, the Super Bowl XIX halftime show, countless air shows, military balls and special events.
In all, the tour does 130 shows in a 10-month period, according to a Tops in Blue release.
Terri McGhee, an operations coordinator with Tops in Blue, said every year brings a different show, but performances within seasons are the same show.
This year's show includes its staple of patriotic music; rock music made famous by The Doobie Brothers, Earth, Wind and Fire, Whitney Houston and Maroon 5; and country music selections from Darius Rucker, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum and The Zac Brown Band
The show's roots go back to 1953, when then-Maj. Al Reilly created the Air Force Worldwide Talent Contest in 1953 to recognize talented airmen in various categories ranging from comedy, drama, vocals, gospel, vocal and instrumental groups, country and western, and several others. Reilly, who retired as a colonel, knew there were athletic competitions, but none in the performing arts.
The tour went on hiatus in 1958, as Tops in Blue instead filmed shows in film studios for broadcasts. The show was redeveloped in 1971 by Air Force Recreation Director Heinz Johnson and went back on tour a year later.
What: Tops in Blue
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Marshall Middle School Auditorium
Admission: Free, seats on first-come, first served basis