Navy Band Northeast Honors the Life of Martin Luther King Jr.

Musician 1st Class Phillip Martin, unit leader for Navy Band Northeast’s ceremonial band, reflects on the crowd gathered to celebrate the life and legacy Martin Luther King Jr. at Thompson Middle School, Newport, Rhode Island.
Musician 1st Class Phillip Martin, unit leader for Navy Band Northeast’s ceremonial band, reflects on the crowd gathered to celebrate the life and legacy Martin Luther King Jr. at Thompson Middle School, Newport, Rhode Island. Navy Band Northeast provided musical support for the annual Newport NAACP celebration. (Photo by Musician 3rd Class April Griffin/Released)

Navy Band Northeast’s ceremonial band joined the Newport chapter of the NAACP on Jan. 21, to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Despite the record-setting cold, community members attended Thompson Middle School, Newport, Rhode Island, and embraced a message of love and hope during the event.

The ceremonial band honored King’s legacy with a musical tribute. The high point of the event was the performance of a special arrangement of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” created by Musician Seaman Jesse Chavez. As the band began to play the anthem of the NAACP, the audience reached out, held hands and sang with one voice in a shared vision of hope and unity.

Just four years before his life abruptly ended, King gave the opening address at the inaugural 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival, sharing personal insights into the power of music and the place of reconciliation music occupied in the hearts of the most oppressed members of our society. He explained how the birth of jazz and the blues personified this struggle, and he believed that music itself had the power to transcend even the most heinous acts by reminding us all of our shared humanity.

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Musician 3rd Class April Griffin
01/30/2019

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