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Drill sergeant wins Fort Wainwright talent competition

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Posted: Sunday, November 4, 2012 11:16 pm | Updated: 11:54 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Fairbanks’ next rising star is an aspiring gospel singer who recently moved to Alaska.

With an a capella performance of John Legand’s “So High” and Musiq Soulchild’s “Love” last month at the Nugget Lanes Lounge on Fort Wainwright, Calvin Snead won the Fairbanks “Operation Rising Star” a military version of the “American Idol” talent competition.

The next step in the competition is San Antonio, where the winner will receive an opportunity to make a professional recording.

“It was a great opportunity because I was at least able to put a smile on family members’ faces, military members’ faces, ” he said after his victory in the Fairbanks round of the competition. “Hopefully, next round I can bring it on back to Fort Wainwright.

Snead moved to Fairbanks five months ago with his wife, who’s an active-duty noncommissioned officer, and three teenage children. When he’s not singing, Snead works at Lowe’s and is a drill sergeant in the Army Reserves. His reservist responsibilities don’t interfere with his voice, he said.

“I never got into the yelling thing,” he said. “I’m the jokester. I’m the one who’s always making sarcasm out of the situation. You need all different kinds of personalities to develop different kinds of soldiers.

Snead’s voice begins in the baritone range and extends about three octaves into the tenor range. Originally from Tifton, Ga., Snead grew up singing in church where his father was a Baptist minister. In Fairbanks, Snead is music minister at Lily of the Valley Church of God.

He has experience as a performer as well, performing as a soloist and in choirs as a high school student and more recently at the 2010 Army Soldiers Show. In 2011, he toured Germany and Korea with an Army Entertainment show. The next round of “Operation Rising Star” start in December. Snead said he’s ready.

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