Even with a cold, an idol can’t stay idle

Joe Monchecourt, Story and photo
21st Theater Support Command

***image1***Even with a stuffy nose and sore throat, the newly- crowned Military
Idol can belt out a patriotic tune that sends some real chills through
any American who might be listening.

Such was the case recently, as Army Sgt. William Glenn – nursing a bad
cold with worse timing – stopped by the Armed Forces Network
Kaiserslautern studio on Vogelweh to record his rendition of “God Bless
America.” AFN used the recording for a Veterans Day television

“Maybe I should take it down, instead of up,” said Sergeant Glenn while
downing a glass of water and trying to catch a breath after his first
attempt to end the song on a high note that the legendary Kate Smith
would have had a tough time hitting.

His suggestion proved to be the right medicine. The next take – with a crescendo an octave lower – was a keeper.

It’s been a non-stop schedule for Sergeant Glenn ever since winning the
Military Idol competition in early November at the Performing Arts
Center, Fort Gordon, Ga. and unofficially being named the Army’s
“Ambassador of Entertainment.” The talent competition is the military
counterpart to American Idol, the popular production staged by Fox

Now, it’s off to New York for an appearance there – and who knows where
else – for Sergeant Glenn, whose musical mission of appointments and
appearances is a world apart from the duties of a regular military
Sergeant Glenn is a military policeman, a National Guard Soldier from
Alabama who is assigned to the 258th MP Company in Darmstadt. The 258th
MPs belong to the 95th MP Battalion in Mannheim, which falls under the
21st Theater Support Command.
In civilian life, Sergeant Glenn, 42, is a preacher and employee at a Veteran’s Affairs hospital.
Despite the different hats he wears and the twists his life has taken, his passion for singing is always in his hip pocket.
“I grew up singing,” Sergeant Glenn said. “When I was 3, maybe 4 years
old, my mom had me singing up in front of the congregation. I have been
singing gospel all my life as well as my family. That’s all we do once
we get together.”
He joined the Army in 1983. From 1986 through 1989, he was a member of
the 82nd Airborne Division, All-American Chorus, which he directed
during the last two years he was there.
“I got to travel extensively with that group,” he said. “We did the
Cotton Bowl, the Jerry Lewis Telethon, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. We
did the Armed Forces Ball twice at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel, the
Senators Ball in Washington, D.C. But I think my biggest accomplishment
was singing for President Reagan at the JFK Center in Washington, D.C.”

“It seems to be that every time I am in the military – and this is my
second stint – I wind up singing. I don’t know if this is destiny or
what,” he said. “Winning the Military Idol competition was no easy

“It was such an honor, because you have so many talented folks there.
The best of each installation was represented at Fort Gordon,” he said,
explaining that the winner was selected after three rounds of

“In the final round, I sang “Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding. It’s a
good song. I love that song,” he said. Sergeant Glenn admitted that
military police work and singing careers fall on opposite ends of the
spectrum and that his singing success has spurred some unusual requests.
“It’s an interesting mix. I know. It’s been funny the past week or so I
pull people over and give them a warning or whatever. And then they
want the ticket to have my autograph on it. It’s wild,” Sergeant Glenn