Only a few days later, set along the pristine blue waters of Bermuda, former boxing promoter and DC native Rock Newman produced the Bermuda Music Festival which honored the incomparable Quincy Jones on the 25th anniversary of his producing the most popular album of all time Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The Government of Bermuda and the Ludacris Foundation chose to honor Mr. Jones for the quality that Frank Sinatra recognized when he chose Quincy to arrange “Fly Me to The Moon”; his command of technical musicianship mastered under the eminent Parisian teacher Nadia Boulanger and Boston’s Berklee College of Music. The last 50 years of American mainstream entertainment have been influenced by Mr. Jones. He also conducted his orchestra which paid tribute to Michael Jackson and Thriller on stage with dancers who recreated the ghoulish grave yard scenes while Mr. Jones lead the Orchestra in front of a crowd of celebrities, VIP guests and local citizens to commemorate the anniversary. The music festival was held at the maritime museum and hosted by Howard University alumnus and head of the Bermudian Government, Premier Ewart Brown. The Island of Bermuda was founded 400 years ago and the festival had special significance as a celebration of a triumph of shared heritage. The first night featured Erykah Badu and Wyclef Jean. The second night was Patti Austin, James Ingram, Siedah Garrett, Michael McDonald and Kenny Rogers. The final night featured Comedian Chris Tucker hosting and John Legend performing. Quincy’s band also performed with Naturally 7, a group that Mr. Jones has deemed as the future of music.
Among other DC natives visiting Bermuda, local restaurateur Barbara Smith of “B” Smith’s in Union Station and her husband greatly enjoyed the festivities, including a performance of the Quincy Jones produced, top selling single of all time “We Are The World” . Before the festival a pink carpet private screening of “This is It” was held @ the Liberty Theatre in Bermuda which prior to the screening had be closed and was reopened that evening to accommodate Mr. Jones and dozens of artists that worked directly with Michael Jackson over his career. James Ingram was quoted as saying “It will be an emotional night because all of us worked with Michael.” As is custom in Bermuda, the elite of the island turned out in Caribbean and formal fashions were fused to create a festive and formal look. Event organizer Mr. Rock Newman is known worldwide for raising millions of dollars for philanthropic efforts and has been recognized by such luminaries as the Pope and Nelson Mandela. The successful orchestration of a once in a lifetime celebration of Quincy Jones excellence and legacy was carried off brilliantly and will only solidify Mr. Newman as one of the Districts most distinguished citizens. Congratulations to Mr. Newman in conjunction with Jeffrey Fried for stopping at nothing to make the event a success; well done gentlemen.