Story and photos by Senior Airman Aaron-Forrest Wainwright
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Armstrong’s Club on Vogelweh Military Complex hosted Apollo Night Saturday in the same format as the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y.
There were boos, there were cheers and one talented musician walked away with the $500 prize.
Apollo Night in the KMC traces its roots to the original event in Harlem and gives members of the KMC a chance to do something out of the ordinary.
Shanda “Dizzy” Misse, host of the Apollo Night, pioneered the event and still hosts today. Every year she flies back to Germany from the U.S. to host the show.
“I got started here in 2004 with the Vogelweh Community Center director,” Misse said. “We started an Apollo amateur night and expected 50 people but there were about 200 (who) showed up.”
Contestants audition a week in advance to perfect routines and gather the confidence to perform for what, at times, can be a tough crowd.
“This is great. The Apollo Night really brings people together,” said Ricky B, a singer of the two-man band Dukes of Daville. “We enjoy anytime we have a chance to make new fans.”
The audience decided how long a contestant performed. If the crowd was pleased, the contestant could finish the performance. But if the mob was not amused, they would heckle until “Sandman” swept them off stage. The winner was decided by the intensity of the crowd’s applause to the performance.
There were 13 contestants who performed. Some sang well-known songs, others performed completely original works varying from poetry to rap. At the end of the day, John Snow, a drum instructor at the Vogelweh and Ramstein community centers, won the crowd over.
“There is always a nice buzz going on in the military community when Apollo comes up,” Misse said.
Every year, Apollo amateur night keeps growing, drawing in more people to have the opportunity to enjoy a wide array of talented, or talentless, performers. Just last year there were nearly 1,000 people who came to the Apollo Night. The next Apollo Night will be held in July at Armstrong’s Club.