Hampton VA Medical Center
Hampton Players Perform in D.C.
National Public Service Recognition Week, scheduled May 2-8, provides an opportunity for public servants at all levels of government to be honored for their service.
As part of the festivities, the Hampton VA Medical Center (VAMC) staff was pleasantly surprised when an invitation from VA Central Office (VACO) arrived requesting the medical facility’s band, The Hampton Players, to participate in the kick-off event in Washington, D.C., on May 2.
This year’s event honored employees from various departments of the VA with less than five years of federal service.
"We wanted to focus recognition of the new talent that the VA has and recognize the important roles that new talent plays in the continuing mission of the VA," said Prince Taylor, event coordinator.
The musicians and singers in the volunteer jazz band agreed they were both excited and flattered to be invited to the VACO opening ceremony. Dr. Martin Cruz, the keyboardist and a Hampton VAMC pharmacist, said that as soon as they got the news they adjusted their personal schedules and were practicing for several hours each night leading up to the gig.
"We really enjoyed ourselves," said Dr. Bill Grunow, flutist and chief of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Hampton VAMC. "We practice a lot, but it is all worth the time when we have an opportunity to participate in these types of events."
Cruz pointed out that group members believe music has therapeutic value and that they enjoy sharing their talent.
“To be invited to play was wonderful,” said Cruz. “But our group members always consider it a great privilege to support the VA in providing live musical entertainment to all our Veterans, families and staff whenever and wherever we can. We are extremely fortunate to be part of something that makes people feel good and smile.”
In addition to Cruz and Grunow, The Hampton Players performing at the event included Dr. Lajuana Collins-Morgan and Richard Moody as vocalists; Lorraine Lewis on percussion and drums; Lawrence Brown on base guitarist; and David Tindall on lead guitar.
“The Army, Navy, Air Force and other military branches have their own bands,” said Cruz. “We are proud to be a band that represents the VA.”