The following excerpt is taken from an article from the Milwaukee Sentinel: Two rows of uniformed band members stood on the USS Arizona's fantail warming up, waiting to play the national anthem at 8 o'clock sharp on a sunny morning. They held trumpets, saxophones, trombones, drumsticks. Among them was Gerald Cox, a clarinetist born in Viroqua, WI. More than musicians, they were friends who had met in the U.S. Navy's music school. More than half were teenagers, a few were married, many were the sons of World War I veterans. Most were still making payments on new musical instruments.

They didn't get to play a note of the "Star-Spangled Banner" that morning. The morning in question was December 7, 1941, the day of the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor.

Join Musician First Class, Kevin McDonald, archivist for The United States Navy Band as he pays homage to these lost musicians whose story is just as much a part of the history of that infamous day as was the sinking of their ship, the location of which is now memorialized at the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii. Also, as part of the program, view a bugle recovered from the Pearl Harbor bomb site which is part of the permanent collection of the Naval History and Heritage Command.

The Speaker. Kevin McDonald joined the Navy Band in 2014. He has shared the international concert stage with Dave Liebman, Paquito D’Rivera and Lee Konitz in venues including Jazz at Lincoln Center, Le Poisson Rouge and Bimhuis. He's collaborated with groups ranging from the Limon Dance Company to the Amherst Symphony Orchestra, served as percussion principal for the 2012 Disneyland All-American College Band, was selected to perform in Carnegie Hall's 2011 Professional Training Workshops directed by Brad Mehldau. He holds a Master of Music in jazz arts from Manhattan School of Music, and a Bachelor of Music in jazz studies and contemporary media, and a certificate in world music/ethnomusicology from the Eastman School of Music.

The United States Navy Band. Consisting of 170 enlisted musicians, recruited from the finest music schools and professional musical organizations, The United States Navy Band is the premier musical organization of the U.S. Navy. Comprised of six primary performing groups as well as a host of smaller ensembles, "The World's Finest" is capable of playing any style of music in any setting. Since its inception in 1925, the Navy Band has been entertaining audiences and supporting the Navy with some of the best musicians in the country performing over 270 public concerts and 1,300 ceremonies annually.

Note: Due to security requirements at the Washington Navy Yard, you will need to be escorted onto the base then to the museum building. If taking Metro, exit the Navy Yard/Ballpark stop. Exit the metro then walk to the base entrance at 11th and O Street SE (about 10 minutes). Plan to arrive at the entrance one hour before the start of the program. Please be prompt. A museum educator will be there to bring you onto the base. If you need to contact the museum on the day of the program, call our front desk at 202.685.0589

Parking Option: Harris Teeters underground parking garage (401 M Street SE). Parking is free for 90 minutes. Once you park, you will need to go into the store and validate your ticket. Keep your ticket since you will need it to exit the garage. After validating your ticket, exit the store and walk to the 11th and O Street entrance of the Navy Yard. Be at the entrance by 11am and wait just inside the entrance gate. Have your driver’s license or other form of government issued I.D. with you.

A museum educator will be at the gate to escort you onto the base and to the museum. A second and final pick-up from the gate will made at 11:20am.

Mask Guidelines: A mask is required for all visitors while inside the museum or while attending any programs. A mask is not required (if you are fully vaccinated) anywhere outside on the Washington Navy Yard grounds. Social distancing will be observed for all inside seated public programs.

Register through Eventbrite or email David Barker at david.a.barker16.civ@us.navy.mil.


The USS Arizona band unit #22 plays in a Battle of Music competition at Bloch Arena in Hawaii during the fall of 1941. It would be their last group photo. (Official U.S. Navy photograph)

The USS Arizona band unit #22 plays in a Battle of Music competition at Bloch Arena in Hawaii during the fall of 1941. It would be their last group photo. (Official U.S. Navy photograph)