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Updated Jun 20, 2014 - 9:59 am

Concert for troops brings joy, country music to Luke Air

Singer Laura Walsh performs at Salute the Troops concert. (KTAR Photo/Martha Maurer)

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Country music fans got a special visit from four talented artists during the "Salute the Troops" concert at Luke Air Force Base.

Arizona native Laura Walsh opened the concert playing a variety of her songs, some written by her, and a mix of other singers' melodies.

"I'm honored," she said. "I have friends and family members who are in the military and to be able to perform and celebrate with them, it's such an honor."

Hundreds of families, many with small children, danced and sang along.

One dad, like many others in the audience, lives on base. He's getting ready to deploy come October. "This [concert] means a lot. I love my family and try to cherish every moment I got with them," said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Freeman.

Season four finalists of the hit show "The Voice," the Swon Brothers, took the stage next, delivering one of their biggest hits, "Lover, Lover."

"We've played all kinds of shows since 'The Voice' and we had the time of our lives," said Colton Swon, "but this is what matters. Anytime we get a chance to do something like this for these men and women, that's an honor."

Country music fan Terrin Ley said the concert went beyond just an entertaining night. Her husband was able to join her and their 18-month-old daughter for a few minutes during his break from his shift at the base. As Ley chased their child through the crowd, she said, "This means a lot to us. We got to see him for a few more minutes."

Country star Jarrod Neimann closed the show performing some of his hit singles, including "What Do You Want."

He dedicated his set to the men and women overseas and shared a message of peace he hopes the world can one day reach.

"Today they're definitely the star of the show," Niemann said. "We're very lucky, very grateful."

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About the Author


Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.

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