Fairchild Airman makes dream come true

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kali Gradishar
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
At four years old, she began to understand the beauty of music. She bypassed singing lessons, learning to sing from her heart and following the tunes of her family members.

Years later, Airman Cristy Lagazo, 92nd Aerospace Medicine Squadron public health technician, has developed her singing talent enough to be chosen as a 2008 performer in the Tops in Blue, the Air Force's expeditionary entertainment unit.

"The first time I got to see Tops in Blue was at basic training," said Airman Lagazo of her experience during the last week of basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. "I said 'Wow, I want to do that.'"

Inspired by her mother, Carmen Dela Cerna, Airman Lagazo made the decision to at least try.

"I grew up with my mom and sister. My dad died when I was nine months old while serving in the Philippine Army. It was just my mother," said Airman Lagazo. "She really urged me to get out and do what I wanted to do. This is kind of a way to thank her."

And so, she built up the courage to create an audition tape and mail it in, hoping that she would become a member of the prestigious performing group. Though her audition tape, consisting of two songs titled "Endless Love" by Diana Ross and "On My Own" from the Broadway musical "Les Miserables," made it into the mail before the Oct. 26 deadline, getting it there wasn't all that easy.

"I sent in the tape on the last day. Sergeant Tolar really pushed me to get out my audition tapes," said Airman Lagazo, referring to Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Tolar, 92nd AMDS NCOIC of Force Health Management.

About one week later, the rising performer received word that she was chosen to compete in the World Wide Talent Competition at Lackland AFB in early December where approximately 56 people competed and only about 35 made it to Tops in Blue as dancers, singers, instrumentalists and technicians, she said.

Competing at the talent competition was her first time performing on stage and nervousness crept through each bone, muscle and nerve.

"I was really nervous. I didn't have the confidence and didn't think I was going to make it," she said. "I was surprised to see so many people with so much talent."

She must have overcome the nervous feelings and performed exceptionally well because she was chosen to become a member of the 2008 Tops in Blue tour and begins practice with fellow performers in February.

"That will give us a chance to get used to each other and perform together," said Airman Lagazo. "I'm really looking forward to doing the traveling and performing all over with the team."

Until practice for the 2008 Tops in Blue tour begins, Airman Lagazo will continue to practice the way she always has - by singing in the car to songs by two of her favorite singers, Whitney Houston and Celine Dion - and hoping that the tour will bring her to Hawaii so her mother and sister will get the chance to watch her perform.

Airman Lagazo "is included in a select 35-member team, which will travel worldwide representing both the United States Air Force and the United States of America..., [and she] will virtually live Tops in Blus 24 hours a day where the opportunity to do her best every day becomes the constant challenge," according to a letter from Thomas Edwards, chief of Air Force entertainment to Col. Lisa Kuhar, AMDS commander. "I can assure you A1C Lagazo and the entire Tops in Blue 2008 team will provide the best entertainment possible to you and our entire Air Force family."

The talented singer will begin performing with Tops in Blue in February 2008 and will stay with the group until February 2009.

The 2007 Tops in Blue tour will make its way to the Inland Northwest on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at the Northern Quest Casino in Airway Heights, Wash.