Representing the Fort Huachuca military spouses, Erin Whitehead, “Military Spouse Magazine” digital editor, will perform with the American Military Spouses Choir on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” during the semifinals, at the Radio City Music Hall in New York, either Tuesday or Sept. 3 (date not released as of newspaper press time).
In all, there are 50 women, who make up the American Military Spouses Choir, from all over the country and from all military branches. They range in age from 20 to 56, with one being pregnant with her first child and some being grandmothers.
While these women have diverse backgrounds, two things remain the same – they share the love of music and support their military spouses.
Whitehead, the 2010 Marine Corps Spouse of the Year, says she has dedicated her life to her husband who fights the battle for America’s freedom every day.
She grew up in a life surrounded by music. With both parents as music educators, Whitehead spent her childhood in band, choir and theater. In college, her passion continued, and she studied musical theater and oboe performance. She had a dream to make it big.
“In college, I wanted to go to Broadway, that is what I was going to do. I didn’t have any desire to have kids or get married. But then [her husband] walked into a karaoke bar, and that was that. I think you know where the story goes from there,” she said.
The American Military Spouses Choir was originally created by the non-profit organization, The Center for American Military Music Opportunities, or CAMMO, to give a one-time performance at the 2012 Kennedy Center Spring Gala in Washington, D.C., but other plans were in store.
“It was an open casting call saying ‘Are you a military spouse, do you love to sing, do you want to sing at the Kennedy Center?’ and [those spouses selected] answered the call,” said Whitehead.
Whitehead explained that, with a newborn and a pre-teen at home, she was unsure at first, but her husband, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Whitehead, Fort Huachuca Marine Corps Detachment, refused to let her think twice. With 13 years of marriage, he knew her passion for singing and her dedication to the military spouse community.
On May 10, the choir tried out for “America’s Got Talent” in Chicago, and their performance shook the judges. They were put through to the next round, and then told they were going directly to New York City.
The group performed again on Aug. 6 at Radio City Music Hall, N.Y., and America voted them through, bringing the choir to the upcoming semifinalist round. Aside from their voices, there is much more to their success that has brought them this far.
“We are a great choir and we have a lot of talent. But we, military spouses, also have an incredible story to tell,” Whitehead said. “We have the best view of our American heroes than anybody [else]. We have the best insight to who they are. So for us to be able to share who these men and women are with America, to me, that is a great combination.”
Amidst all of the excitement, Whitehead has a commitment here at home as well. As a mother of two daughters, Morgan and Emma, and the digital editor of a magazine, she keeps a steady schedule.
She explained that she feels as though she is living in two different worlds right now. When she is home, her days are filled with work and motherhood, but then in a matter of days, she is right back into the life consisting of rehearsals, makeup and cameras.
Whitehead is excited to say her Family will be joining her at the next show, giving their support the entire way.
“When Morgan sees another article that is written or something being advertised, she just rolls her eyes and says ‘Mom, that’s just another instance of you being too famous’,” Whitehead said, expressing her daughter’s excitement about her appearance on national TV.
The winner of this seasons “America’s Got Talent” will take home $1 million but regardless of win or lose, Whitehead is taking so much from the experience.
“We have heard from people all over the country, military spouses, veterans, Family members who have said ‘Thank you for what you are doing. You have touched me. I was sitting on my couch going through yet another deployment, and I see you guys up there living this dream. I am encouraged by it,’ and that gives me hope,” she said.
When asked what she would say to those who have become fans of the American Military Spouse Choir, Whitehead said, “Tune in, we would love for you to vote, but we also hope that you listen and get the message that we are singing for you and representing you. Continue to follow your dreams.”
For more information about the American Military Spouses Choir, visit http://www.cammomusic.org or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AmericanMilitarySpousesChoir.