Gigi Mac Band to Headline Tribute to America’s Veterans Concert

An evening of tribute to America’s veterans will be headlined by the Brazilian bossa nova group Gigi Mac Band on Wednesday.

Major General (ret.) Richard W. Thomas will be the keynote speaker at the free 15th Annual ‘Tribute to America’s Veterans Concert’ on Wednesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at American Legion Post 41, Cissel-Saxon, in downtown Silver Spring.

The Gigi Mac Band’s repertoire includes Bossa Nova, Samba, MPB (Musica Popular Brasileira) and Baiao. Steve Sachse, Juan Megna, and Gigi MacLaughlin make up the ensemble.

A well-known musician in the Washington area for 30 years, Gig MacLaughlin has performed on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. MacLaughlin studied piano and accordion at the Mario Mascarenhas School in Brazil. Later, she switched to playing rebolo percussion and melodica instead.

Composer and guitarist John Lee is active in the Washington music scene. His BFA in Jazz Performance is from the New School’s Mannes Jazz and Contemporary Music Program. He has been a sideman on more than 20 recordings, a leader on five albums, and has performed with a host of major artists, including Cyro Baptista, Fatoumata Diawara, Hassan Hakmoun, Matisyahu, and Keller Williams. Currently, Lee teaches for MusiCorps, a music rehabilitation program for wounded veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He also serves as adjunct faculty for the Jazz and Commercial Performance program at Towson University.

Juan Megna is a drummer from Argentina, now based in the D.C. area. He lived for 12 years in Brazil where in 2008, he got his degree in Brazilian Popular Music from the State University of Campinas – Sao Paulo. He also graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017 with a Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance.

Steve Sachse is a bass player and studio engineer from Washington D.C. Playing all kinds of Brazilian rhythms, he is considered one of the most talented bass players in this area.

Keynote speaker Major General (ret.) Richard Thomas is associate vice president, dean, and chief medical officer at the West Virginia University School of Medicine’s Eastern Campus in Martinsburg. Recently, he served as the sixth president of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. After more than 26 years of service in the Army, Dr. Thomas retired as a major general. In his career, he served in numerous senior staff roles, culminating as the Defense Health Agency’s director of healthcare operations and chief medical officer. He deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Panama multiple times to support combat operations. Dr. Thomas has received numerous awards and decorations, including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Army Superior Service Medal (2), Legion of Merit (3), and Bronze Star Medal (2), among others.

American Legion Post 41 is located at 905 Silgo Ave. in downtown Silver Spring. All are welcome to the event; Veterans are encouraged to wear military attire. The event does not require tickets, but RSVPs emailed to [email protected] would be appreciated.

Graphic Courtesy of Silver Spring Town Center Inc.

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