The musical Airman: Goodfellow Airman uses music to relieve stress, inspire wingmen
By Airman 1st Class Jessica Keith, 17th Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 12, 2011
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas-- --
A young boy sits in front of a piano that is bigger than he is and cries in frustration. He is struggling and can't seem to learn how to play a certain piece of music. Feeling hopeless, the child turns his tear-swollen eyes to his grandmother. "It's okay," she says. "Crying will help you remember."
Senior Airman Chadwick McGuire, an instructional courseware developer, 17th Training Support Squadron and previous vice-president of Patriotic Blue here, said this is one of his most vivid childhood memories.
She wasn't being harsh, he said.
"What she meant was that because I was so upset, I would remember what she was trying to teach," he added. "She was right. Anytime I cried, I remembered what she taught me and eventually there were no more tears."
His grandmother's passion for music inspired him to continue to play as he grew older even though his three siblings slowly slipped away from music, Airman McGuire said.
"She made music a part of herself," he added.
Airman McGuire and his grandmother practiced several times a week.
"We would play in her sitting room, which served many purposes," he said. "We gathered for singing, playing music, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, birthdays and other holidays or special events. Even today, every time I enter that room, all my senses remind me of what once was and how far I have come from when I was that sobbing 5-year-old to the man I am today."
Airman McGuire said music is a stress-reliever and when he cannot express his feelings through words, he expresses them using music.
"If I am sad, I play and it helps me feel better," he added. "If I am happy, I play and it compounds my good mood."
His passion for music and his grandmother's lessons inspired him to try out for Tops in Blue, an amateur all-active duty Air Force entertainment group that travels world-wide, acting as goodwill ambassadors and performing for military personnel.
Although Airman McGuire wasn't selected to travel with the group this year, he said that doesn't change how he feels about music, and he encourages anyone with a musical talent to audition for the show if the opportunity arises.
"It was an experience I will never forget," he said. "Even though I didn't make it, it was still very rewarding."
Airman McGuire said he may even audition again in the future and that it is important for anyone who auditions keeps in mind that not getting selected does not mean they are not talented.
"It's not always about whether you are good enough or not," he added. "A lot of the selection process is centered around the type of show they have in mind. You can be the world's best free-style skater, but if they can't use a skater in the routine, you won't be selected."
Although not a member of TiB, Airman McGuire is still a talented Airman. He is currently a member of Patriotic Blue, and performs with them at various base functions.
The group meets in building 901 every Thursday to practice, and anyone interested in joining can attend the meeting.
"Whatever your talent is, don't get discouraged," Airman McGuire said. "You can't please everyone no matter what you do, but as long as you love what you do, someone out there is going to like it too."
Tops in Blue is scheduled to return to San Angelo for a free performance June 1 at the San Angelo Coliseum and will hold auditions for the 2012 show. For more information, visit www.topsinblue.com/application.