Tops in Blue brings sergeant home for an encore

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
  • Air Force News Agency
A Tops in Blue performance at Veterans Memorial Park here Aug. 18 was an opportunity for one performer to catch up with friends and family.

Staff Sgt. Mark Schmidt, the bass player for the Tops in Blue 2007 World Tour, grew up in nearby Biddeford, Maine, where he learned how to play the bass in high school.

The sergeant, who is a standards and evaluations journeyman for the 690th Intelligence Support Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, said performing near home was a thrill. He said that even after performing 50 shows this year; he still had butterflies for the Old Orchard Beach performance.

"This was probably the show where I was the most nervous," he said. "It was an incredible feeling to step out on stage and see my family sitting in the audience."

His father Terry Schmidt, who served for 13 years in the Navy and the Coast Guard, said that he had never seen Tops in Blue perform before. He said he was impressed by the show and how his son performed.

"We are very proud of our son," he said. "I found out that he would be performing here about three weeks ago. It is so nice to be able to see him play so close to home and they sure put on a good show."

The show made a good impression on other audience members as well.

Alexis Muskie, from Old Orchard Beach, said that she found out about the show while out on a bike ride. She said she was amazed to see such great performance talent from military members and that she was moved by the show.

"It brought tears to my eyes," she said. "I think about the military all the time. I definitely want to see another show."

The sergeant had an unique journey coming to the group. His wife works in the finance office at Lackland. A Tops in Blue travel coordinator was filing travel vouchers with her when he mentioned that they needed a bass player. After hearing about this from his wife, the sergeant applied for the position and was added to the group.

Sergeant Schmidt said that going on tour has been a lot of hard work. He said that it has been very rewarding and that he enjoys the traveling.

"Tops in Blue has given me the chance to go around the world and see people at many different communities and bases," he said. "It is an honor and a great pleasure to be able to serve my country in this way."

The Air Force entertainment group is playing several shows in New England in support of Air Force Week. Air Force Week is the service's effort to highlight the Air Force's role in today's military operations as the service approaches its 60th anniversary.

The Tops in Blue performance tied in with the celebration by featuring music and costumes from all six decades.

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