By: Ariana Diaz
Fort Rucker Army spouse Yarinette Dominguez has been singing since she could talk.
As the daughter of musician Alfredo Santiago, an original member of the Puerto Rican Salsa music group El Gran Combo, Dominguez grew up singing, dancing and listening to music.
“Music runs through my veins,” she said. “It’s in my family. As far as I can remember I’ve always loved singing.”
Surrounded by music, Dominguez said she began singing in her family’s church choir, in school plays and in chorus.
She said she’s always been passionate about music, but never really thought to pursue it as a career.
“Singing and music in general opens the doorway to the soul,” she said. “You can be going through anything, whether you’re happy or sad there’s just so much you can express with music, and it helps. Music is healing.”
As a military spouse it’s not uncommon for the wife or husband to put their dreams on hold in order to take care of the home front.
But sometimes life takes a different course and fate presents itself.
Recently, Dominguez received the opportunity of a lifetime to sing on national television at Radio City Music Hall in New York City with the American Military Spouses Choir on the eighth season of “America’s Got Talent.”
Dominguez and 37 other women touched the hearts of millions everywhere with their powerful renditions of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Hero,” but it wasn’t enough to keep the group from getting eliminated.
The group made it to the semifinals, by defeating 19 other acts, but they did not receive enough votes to become one of the 12 finalist on the show.
Although the choir did not make it to receive the $1 million prize, Dominguez said she will always treasure the opportunity and experience.
“It’s a great experience being in the big city, being able to sing in Radio City. That alone is amazing. Being on national television, there really are no words to express the whole experience,” she said.
The American Military Spouses Choir is made up of 50-100 women from around the United States whose husbands are all serving in branches of the military.
The group’s mission is to support military service members and their families through singing, raising awareness and supporting them with their needs.
The choir was formed in May 2012 after Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster wanted a choir of military wives to sing with him in the Kennedy Center’s Spring Gala event where he was performing “David Foster and Friends” in Washington, D.C.
The Center for American Military Music Opportunities (CAMMO) put out a casting call, and Dominguez joined the group.
“I was very shocked and happy,” she said. “It just started off as a one-time performance to now a choir, a sisterhood and (being on) national television.”
The “America’s Got Talent” producers saw the video on YouTube and were so impressed by the performance that they contacted the choir to audition for the show.
“I was really excited,” she said. “I was like, ‘Wow, this is awesome. This is amazing. This is a great opportunity for us to not only display our talent, but to be a voice and send that message out.'”
Since the show’s elimination, Dominguez has returned to Fort Novosel, formerly known as Fort Rucker, and said she’s glad to be home.
“I am very happy to be back,” she said. “Being in New York was great, but it was very hard and a little stressful at times knowing that I had to leave my family. I’m happy to be back in my own routine, back with my family and taking care of the home front.”
Dominguez is married to Fort Novosel (formerly Fort Rucker) Warrant Officer 1 Israel Dominguez, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, and has two children, Josiah, 8, and Yarisa, 13.
Now that the show is over, Dominguez said she is extremely grateful to have shared the opportunity with her sisters.
“We all enjoyed it,” she said. “We worked hard. We give it our all, and who better to have been through that experience than with a great group of women.”
Dominguez said the girls will definitely keep on singing.
“I know we will,” she said.
To learn more about the American Military Spouses Choir, visit Cammomusic.org.