July 6, 2012
By Hannah Van Ree
U.S. Army Cadet Command Public Affairs
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash.- Cadets at the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC) already have a steady battle rhythm to follow throughout their 29-day challenge, but Cadet Christopher Nash follows a rhythm of his own.
Nash, a 27-year-old active duty soldier from the University of Massachusetts, said that he found out he could make unique sounds in high school and that was just the beginning of his beat boxing career.
“In high school I had some buddies into music and found out I could make a ‘dwoom-dwoom-dwoom’ noise,” said Nash, giving a preview of his fast-paced, rave type echo.
Beat boxing is a musical art form using a person’s mouth, lips, tongue and voice to create instrumental rhythm and beats. Nash has perfected the art and can produce a beat simulating background music instantly.
Nash said he then joined a cappella groups in high school and was the beat boxer in a male a cappella group at his first college. Later, he became a member of the group D.C. Vocals in Virginia, playing shows at venues around the area.
Though less harmonious, the camaraderie formed in a musical group can be compared to that of a platoon at LDAC. Each team member needs and depends upon the performance of their peers.
“This platoon I’m with is a bunch of studs. They’re awesome. I’m very proud to be here with these guys,” said Nash.
For the past three years, Nash has been on active duty with the famed Old Guard in Virginia. Just before Nash was to leave for his next assignment, his commander approached him about becoming an officer.
“He told me about the active duty Green-to-Gold program and said he’d give me a good recommendation if I applied,” said Nash, who applied and was accepted.
Nash, a prior enlisted soldier, said his platoon members are more professional than he expected.
“It’s a change of perspective. I was expecting to come here with these college kids and be like ‘wow you guys, this is not how the Army works’, but a lot of them have prior experience and are older too. I’m impressed,” said Nash, “it’s really encouraging.”
Beat boxing, which Nash calls his “weird talent”, is something he was naturally good at and still practices during his downtime. Nash said any downtime he has at LDAC is no exception.
“In the military when you’re staying in the barracks for 30 days it’s kind of nice to be able to make your own music. Some people in the barracks know I can do it, so sometimes we sit around and sing songs to pass the time,” said Nash.
Nash, who is days away from graduating LDAC, said that he enjoyed the experience and valued what he has learned over the past weeks.
“I was dreading coming here for 30 days but honestly it wasn’t that bad. My favorite part was the people that I’ve been working with,” said Nash after laying down a steady beat of “umps” and “psssks”.