Wilson gets his scolding


U.S. Army

Members of the Army’s Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps perform a drumstick maneuver as part of the Army’s “Spirit of America” program. The team plays the music of the American Revolution and will perform during the show in North Charleston.

When the Army's "Spirit of America" show comes to the North Charleston Coliseum today and Saturday, organizers do not want attendees to sit back and enjoy the patriotic music.

"We want you to be on the edge of your seat," said Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Williams, a spokesman for the show. "Our goal for the show is to educate, inspire and entertain. We want to thank the people of America for their support. It's a huge deal to be in a country where you actually have the support of the citizens."

The show is performed each September with a new theme, traveling to two or three cities. This year, performances were in Washington, D.C., last week and will be in Jacksonville, Fla., next week.

The first of the two acts pays tribute to soldiers by telling the stories of those who have answered the call to duty from the Civil War to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The re-enactments include battle scenes with simulated gunfire and performances by the Army's elite ceremonial units.

The second act includes patriotic music from the Army Band "Pershing's Own," and soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), the oldest active-duty infantry unit in the Army. The Old Guard includes the Fife and Drum Corps, the Caisson Platoon, the

Commander-in-Chief's Guard, the Continental Color Guard and the Army Drill Team.

The show includes about 320 active-duty soldiers stationed in Washington.

Williams said the show ends with an audience sing-along of the official song of each branch of the military.

"In my humble opinion, it's probably one of the best parts of the show," he said.

Capacity crowds are expected to attend the four shows.

"It's the first time the show has ever come to the state of South Carolina and we're honored to have them choose us," said Alan Coker, marketing manager for the North Charleston Coliseum & Performing Arts Center. "We're looking forward to having big crowds all weekend."

As of Thursday, there were no tickets to the show at 10:30 a.m. today, which will be attended by many school groups, Coker said. Williams said teachers are given guides before the show so they can prepare their students.

"Typically, the show is well-attended by many patriotic Americans and veterans," Williams said. "There are young and old, those who served and have not served, and they all seem to enjoy it."

Each audience will include about 4,000 seats.

"We use a backdrop that blocks off the ends of the coliseum, so we can't use all the seats," Williams said. "It's a smaller venue than the Verizon Center, where we were last week, but we like that because it will create a close-knit group and an exciting show. We will be closer to the people."

Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or on Facebook.