Singing the national anthem to a small crowd at a retirement ceremony is one thing but performing for 49,000 people at an Arizona Diamondbacks game is in a whole different ballpark. Still, one Luke Air Force Base Thunderbolt is eager to share her gift with both.
Staff Sgt. Sasha Houser, 56th Force Support Squadron, has loved to sing since she was a child.
“I started when I joined the church choir,” Houser said. “However, I didn’t start singing in the military until my first sergeant asked for volunteers to sing the national anthem at squadron events. I was a one-striper back then and too nervous to try out, since I knew it could lead to performing by myself in front of large groups of people.”
But, she didn’t let fear stop her, and she decided to try out for the first sergeant.
“There I was in the first sergeant’s office belting out the national anthem, and I didn’t care about my fear,” she said. “Shortly after the audition, I performed at my first event — a dining out.”
Houser continued to provide her talent at other events while stationed at McGuire AFB, N.J., but stopped for almost a year when she moved to Luke.
“When I arrived here I got out of the singing thing for a while,” she said. “But then a call came out in my squadron for volunteers, and I stepped up.”
At that point, Houser was participating in group level events. In fact, she didn’t become known until the 56th Fighter Wing Protocol Office requested people willing to sing the national anthem for the wing.
Once again she would have to audition for the opportunity, but this time it was different.
“It wasn’t just me and one other person in the audition like my first time,” she said. “There was a group of people. We were told we would be recorded, and volunteers were asked to go first. I was so nervous I wanted to get it over with, so I went first. I didn’t stay to watch the others sing because I feared I would find out I was the worst one there.”
Houser was selected as one of only a few to represent the wing not only at base events but in the local community as well.
“After I was selected, I’ve had many great opportunities to do what I love best,” she said. “I’ve sung for thousands at major league baseball games or smaller crowds at award ceremonies, but my favorite is performing at retirements. Honoring those who have served for so long makes me feel good, and it’s my way of letting them know their service and hard work are appreciated.”
Houser also performed at the 56th FW change of command.
“Sergeant Houser sang an amazing rendition of the nation anthem at the wing change of command,” said Lt. Col. Bert Cool, 56th Mission Support Group deputy commander. “And I’m not the only one who thought so. Afterward Fighter Country Partnership invited her to sing at a local NBA Hall of Fame event.”
Despite the praise and many opportunities, Houser remains humble.
“I just love sharing my gift,” she said. “And if my passion can enrich the lives of others, that’s good enough for me. People shouldn’t hide the gifts they’ve been given, even if it means getting butterflies right before being in front of thousands.”
For more information on auditioning, call protocol at (623) 856-5604.