NEWS | March 2, 2011

Local Airman is now Tops in Blue

By Eric Sesit Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

There were no cameras and studio lights and Ryan Seacrest wasn't there to give her a gold ticket to Hollywood, but for Airman 1st Class Petrice Brown, assigned to the 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron on Joint Base Charleston - Air Base, none of that mattered. Airman Brown was recently selected for the military's own version of a golden ticket by being chosen to join the Air Force's premier entertainment showcase, Tops in Blue.

Tops in Blue serves as an expeditionary entertainment unit that provides quality entertainment from within the Air Force for the Air Force family, with priority to Air Force personnel stationed worldwide at remote and deployed locations while simultaneously promoting community relations, supporting recruiting efforts and serving as ambassadors for the United States of America and the United States Air Force.

Airmen Brown auditioned for Tops in Blue during the groups' visit to Charleston last year. "I found out I had been selected at my squadron Christmas party when my commanding officer, Lt. Col. Steven Kaighen, made the announcement. It was quite a shock," Airman Brown said. "This was the first time I had auditioned."

Like many aspiring entertainers, Airman Brown began singing in her church when she was just seven years old. She has an impressive list of other auditions including a try at American Idol in 2008. "I didn't make it in to see Simon, Paula and Randy, but I came close," Airman Brown said.

She also tried out for Air Mobility Command's Icon, and although she wasn't chosen for that competition either, she feels her previous attempts at the spotlight definitely helped prepare her for the Tops in Blue audition.

Shortly after being notified of her selection, she was off to Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where she joined more than 30 other new members of the group for rehearsals and an entirely new, yet exhausting way of life.

"We start when the sun comes up with aerobics, which I love, and then it's off to dance or vocal rehearsals," said Airman Brown. "We're pretty much singing and dancing the whole day and normally wrap up around 8 or 9:00 p.m.

"I thought this was going to be a walk in the park, but I learned quickly that being a part of a professional organization like this was much more than I expected. It is challenging but I love it. I learn and grow every day. I'm part of a group of the most amazing and talented Airmen. We're one big family and we get along great."

The new edition of Tops in Blue will begin touring in April, although a complete 2011 schedule has not been released.