Although discrimination in the U.S. Navy against Hispanics is not well-documented, it is known that many Hispanic sailors prior to Truman’s 9981 Executive Order, were given menial labor jobs and were sometimes harassed by crew members.  In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, and in collaboration with the United States Navy Band, join Navy Band Archivist, Chief Musician, Kevin McDonald in a talk about the life and musical contribution of Jose Contreras.  Chilean by birth, Contreras would become the Navy’s first Bandmaster of Hispanic descent.

About the Speaker:  Chief Musician Kevin C. McDonald serves as archivist for the Navy Music Program, United States Navy Band, and as drummer for the U.S. Navy Jazz Band Commodores, the Navy's premier jazz ensemble. He has presented at academic conferences for the American Musicological Society and the Jazz Education Network, and has shared the concert stage with several noted musicians such as Dave Liebman, Mark Turner, Paquito D'Rivera, Miguel Zenon, Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, and the late Lee Konitz.  Mr. McDonald holds a Ph.D. in musicology from The Catholic University of America.  His dissertation, "Hearing the American Civil Rights Movement in the Music of Max Roach," was published in 2021 under the direction of Professor Andrew H. Weaver.

Note: Due to security requirements at the Washington Navy Yard, you will need to be escorted onto the base. If taking metro, get on the Green Line and exit the Navy Yard/Ballpark stop, then walk to the entrance at 11th and O Street SE (about 15 minutes). Plan to arrive at the entrance gate by 11am. A museum educator will be at the entrance gate to bring you onto the base and to the museum (Bldg. 76). The last gate pickup will occur at 11:20 PM. If you need to contact the museum on the day of the program, call our front desk at 202.685.0589.

CAC holders, active duty and retired military members and their dependents do not need to be escorted. 

Parking:  There is no parking at Washington Navy Yard; however, paid and free parking is located in various areas surrounding the yard.

This program will be recorded and shared on the museum’s Facebook page at a later date.  For more information about this program,  email the National Museum of the U.S. Navy at

Jose Contreras: Bandmaster Extraordinaire

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