Staff Sgt. Emily “MJ” McAleesejergins
I studied voice under Rosalie Byrne, Gordon Miller, Nancy Davis Booth, and Joey Beebe. I studied piano under Melissa Baughman and Dr. Lester Knibbs
As a vocalist, it is difficult to whittle down a very long list of influences. There are so many different styles and voice types that have inspired me. As a big musical theater buff, Julie Andrews and Rosemary Clooney are both on my short list. My very first aspiration as a little four-year-old, was to sound like Jodi Benson, the voice of Ariel in The Little Mermaid. Now I pursue the flexibility and range to be the best vocal chameleon I can be!
When did you join the Army?
In 2003, I joined the Army National Guard as a vocalist and percussionist with the 38th Infantry Division Band in Indianapolis. I spent 12 years serving the Guard as a vocalist on two Army Soldier Show tours, two Army Birthday Balls, and in three National Guard Bands.
Currently, I’m studying photography and videography to better capture amazing moments with the West Point Band. I also work in the social media shop as a representative for the Benny Havens Band. Along with those duties, I serve on the Benny Havens Band Production Team. I also love to bake and have really enjoyed learning the art of sweet treats.
I knew I wanted to be a musician when…
I was three years old when I knew music was forever a part of my life. I sang “Come on Ring Those Bells” with my mother at church. I grew up next to the piano singing hymns while my mom practiced for Sundays.
A performance/job highlight:
I had the privilege of touring with the U.S. Army Soldier Show where I was afforded the opportunity to sing for thousands of troops and their families all over the world. We also sang for wounded combat servicemen and women at Landstuhl Medical Center during their recoveries. Since being here at West Point, I was honored to be a part of last year’s Army Birthday celebration down in New York City. I stood directly in front of Gen. Raymond Odierno (Chief of Staff) and led the U.S. Army Song.
I can’t believe I have been blessed to sing for my country for 14 years. Being here in the West Point Band has always been a dream and yes, I’m still pinching myself!
Did you know?
I grew up in a small town in Indiana, so I was able to do a lot of extracurricular activities like basketball, show choir, musicals, and track and field. My senior year of high school, I tried out for the football team and made it! I played kicker, wide receiver, and three plays as nose guard (my coach thought it would be funny). I even scored a touchdown! The best part about that memory for me was hugging my dad afterward. So to that I say, “Beat Navy!”