The powerful harmonies of the military singing group "Voices of Service" gave us chills when we heard their stunning arrangement of Katy Perry's "Rise" on a recent episode of America's Got Talent.
Retired Army veterans Caleb Green and Ron Henry along with Army Sgt. Maj. Christal Rheams and Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason Hanna earned a resounding "yes" from every judge.
As the crowd rose to their feet, judge Gabrielle Union was already standing and visibly moved by the quartet's performance. "What you guys are doing ... this song, your voices, and your abilities, I can't thank you enough for all of it," Union said.
Even the tough-at-times critic Simon Cowell had nothing but praise, "Your story is amazing, your message is amazing, but what I loved was the vocal arrangement, it was just stunning. This is what America needs right now."
With their performance, they advanced to the next level of America's Got Talent, but their work to heal warfighters with music is their mission every day.
"We work with active duty and veterans and anyone suffering from a Traumatic Brain Injury or PTSD using music as therapy to help heal some wounds," explained Rheams.
Voices of Service is affiliated with the Virginia-based Center for American Military Music Opportunities (CAMMO) a non-profit dedicated to bringing military members together through their love of music.
However, as retired Army Staff Sgt. Ron Henry explained music has also been with them during their darkest hour. "I remember we were actually being attacked," said Henry. "So I just started singing a song, and everybody was like 'How can you sing a song at this time?' And I was like why not? This could be our last time, and if it is our last time, let it be with some joy, let it be with some happiness."
And it's happiness they continue to spread through their work with CAMMO and to the America's Got Talent national audience. "I feel like there are so many people that get to hear this now, so many people it will help," said Rheams. "I'm happy about that."
America's Got Talent airs on NBC Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
For more episodes of VetStory podcast, click here
Follow Phil Briggs @philbriggsVet