A lifetime of training

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chad Padgett
  • 436th AW Public Affairs
Growing up in Ohio, with all the childhood memories that Airman 1st Class Shen-Chia Chu has, there were always two passions in her life, singing and playing the violin.

"I started playing the violin and singing in the church choir in the third grade," said Airman Chu. "I used to devote my time every day to familiarize myself with my instrument. I would practice a song until I played it perfectly, otherwise, I wouldn't put down my violin."

"I used to practice my violin for two hours a day," she said. "I learned how to play the violin through elementary school instruction booklets by myself and I enjoyed playing the violin for hours because I was determined to become disciplined doing what I loved."

While singing in choir competitions and performing concerts with her violin, Airman Chu also filled her days with musicals in both middle and high school.

"Singing, acting and choreography has always been something I've loved being a part of," she said. "I remember staying late for after school rehearsals from 3 p.m. to midnight. I was trained to memorize script, learning to articulate, along with singing and dancing for several months to get ready for the show."

When the Tops in Blue were holding auditions in Dover, Airman Chu jumped at the opportunity.

"I picked my audition song based on how compatible my voice would be and how the song makes me feel, but most importantly, that I will be able to sing it from my heart," she said. "I would not be able to sing something unless I truly understand the song with my heart and giving it my all. I am a perfectionist when it comes to music and every miniscule detail, whether it is a sixteenth rest - the music score really matters."

Airman Chu was one out of 35 Airmen selected to perform for Tops In Blue. She will train for 45 days at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, which will include not only singing and performing instruments, but also how to be their own technical staff, including setting up over 80,000 pounds of lighting, audio and special effects equipment for the show. She will then begin a year-long tour as a member of Tops In Blue.