Senior Airman Bone selected for 2009 Tops in Blue

Senior Airman Jennifer Bone performs at the Tops in Blue audition at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Airman Bone was selected for the 2009 season of the Air Force’s premier talent event. (Photo courtesy of Chris Burch)

Senior Airman Jennifer Bone performs at the Tops in Blue audition at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. Airman Bone was selected for the 2009 season of the Air Force’s premier talent event. (Photo courtesy of Chris Burch)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Television has American Idol, and the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo has Rodeo Idol, but the U.S. Air Force has been putting together touring entertainment groups for 55 years. This elite group of entertainers is called the Air Force Tops in Blue, and Team Goodfellow's Senior Airman Jennifer Bone was selected for the 2009 touring ensemble.

Getting one of the spots in Tops in Blue is no easier then getting a spot on American Idol. Every year, thousands of Air Force personnel send in audition tapea of their performances. From those, approximately 80 performers are selected for a live ten-day audition.

This live audition is deemed the Air Force Worldwide Talent Contest at Lackland Air Force Base, which includes individual performances and group shows. The group shows are performed in a packed theater of Air Force basic military trainees and families.

"Every entertainer there was so talented," Airman Bone said "so I'm pretty sure figuring out who would get selected was not easy." From this ten-day audition, the field is narrowed to a smaller group and Airman Bone was one of the 31 performers selected.

Airman Bone arrived at Goodfellow in July 2007 and is assigned to the 17th Communications Squadron, working in the ground radio shop as a personal wireless communications technician.

"I've sung since junior high, in church, school choirs and sang a lot of karaoke because I enjoyed singing just to sing," Airman Bone said, "but when I started singing the national anthem at various events on base, people started encouraging me to try out for Tops in Blue."

After she made the decision to try out, she travelled back to San Diego, Calif., her home town, and began taking voice coaching. "My dad set up the voice coach and even recorded my audition tape," Airman Bone said. "He is a retired Air Force combat cameraman, so he naturally had to record my audition."

Airman Bone is married to Airman First Class Brian Bone, also assigned to 17 CS, but she's not too worried about the almost one year separation.

"I leave for San Antonio in March to begin rehearsals for the 10-month tour," Airman Bone said, "but my husband deploys in May so it worked out well for both of us."

Known as the Air Forces' Expeditionary Entertainers; Tops in Blues performs throughout the world, so Airman Bone will be doing quite a bit of travelling of her own.

"If I could offer any advice to Airmen who are thinking of trying out for Tops in Blue it would be to pick a song you're comfortable with, be confident and try to be memorable," Airman Bone said "but most importantly, have fun."