Residents of Marine Park gathered on Saturday, February 11th at the Carmine Carro Community Center, 3000 Fillmore Avenue, to attend a live jazz concert performed by Ronnie Burrage & Holographic Principle. Burrage is a famous jazz drummer who has toured the world and is currently an adjunct lecturer at Brooklyn College.
Organized by the Marine Park Alliance (MPA) with the assistance of Brooklyn College, the concert was a way of reaching out to people and teaching them about Black History through music.
“I’m happy that the Marine Park Alliance contacted me through the college. My wife and I only moved here about a year ago and I saw this beautiful park. I was like, ‘I have to find out if they’re doing music there,'” said Burrage. “This concert had to be done. If you’re blessed to play music and you have an opportunity to be in front of people, you should educate them through music. Music is the universal language, and you need to tell the story and the true histories and get to know one another through the music.”
Several songs composed by legendary musicians such as Donnie Hathaway, Joni Mitchell and Duke Ellington, whom Burrage performed with at the age of nine while he sang with the St. Louis Cathedral boys’ choir, were played. Specific songs included “Alabama” by John Coltrane. Burrage explained that the song is about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama and the death of four black girls.
Another song was “Fables of Faubus,” written by Charles Mingus. Burrage told the audience that it was a direct protest song against Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, who in 1957 dispatched the National Guard to block Little Rock Central High School’s integration.
As the band played, Burrage explained the significance of the songs, so the audience not only enjoyed the music but also understood its meaning and history.
“This is the first Black History Month program in Marine Park,” said Margot Perron, MPA board member. “People from Marine Park were able to come here and witness this. People enjoyed this so much and watching him and his group gel right in front of us and the music becoming more and more conglomerate in sound was just so exciting to watch. It’s great to see people here of all ages and races.”