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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

Collins, Band Rock for Fellows on South Lawn

Dancers enjoy the band.

As ARRA members (from l) Dr. John O’Shea, Quino Maduro, Cassie Parks, Dr. Robert Walker, Dr. John Tisdale, Dr. Peter Grayson, Dr. Mike Lenardo, Dr. Mike Pazin, NIH director Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Scott Durum play, dancers Dr. Ronald Germain and his wife Gale dance to the music.

Photo: Ernie Branson

The audience included kids and adults.

The audience included kids and adults.

Photo: Ernie Branson

Dr. Collins sings and plays piano.

Collins, a multi-instrumentalist, sings and plays keys.

Photo: Ernie Branson

Two singers perform on stage.

Singers Quino Maduro and Cassie Parks sing for the crowd.

Photo: Ernie Branson

Guitarist Grayson sings.

Dr. Peter Grayson sings and plays guitar.

Photo: Ernie Branson

Dr. O'Shea rocks out on guitar.

Dr. John O'Shea plays guitar behind his head.

Photo: Ernie Branson

On July 5, hundreds of NIH staff, fellows and guests outside Bldg. 10’s south entry may have been pleasantly surprised by the sight of a full rock and roll band, complete with dancers. But these were no regular musicians, lost on their way to Bonaroo; this was NIH’s own multi-talented band, the Affordable Rock ’n’ Roll Act (ARRA), formerly known as The Directors.

To celebrate the contributions of NIH fellows, frontman NIH director Dr. Francis Collins, clad in all black, jammed with nine scientists and physicians from NIAMS, NHGRI, NCI, NHLBI and NIAID. The band performed rock, blues and Motown tunes spanning multiple decades. Collins even wrote a song for the occasion, to the tune of Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World.

Some NIH’ers, such as NLM visiting scientist Donald Ekong, knew about the event in advance. “I’m a groupie by nature,” he said. “This is great!”

Others happily stumbled upon the concert. NIMH fellow Sunny Jiang heard the music from her office in Bldg. 49 and came down to check it out. “I thought Dr. Collins only played country music,” she exclaimed. “He’s playing rock!”

ORF’s Mike Moore strolled by with his intern Andre on his first day at NIH. “So now Andre thinks it’s a party here every day,” joked Moore. “But really, they should do this more often. It’s a great way to break up the day.”

The concert, sponsored by the visiting fellows committee, the Office of Research Services and the Recreation & Welfare Association, was located next to the weekly NIH Community Market. Concertgoers took advantage of the food while enjoying the music. 

After 90 minutes of spirited playing, the band left the stage. Chanting, “One more song!” the crowd couldn’t get enough. Not wishing to disappoint their fans, the band happily complied.

To see clips from the concert, visit—Courtney Bell, Dana Talesnik

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