September 21, 2016 – U.S. Ambassador to Brunei Darussalam Craig Allen hosted an event to celebrate the 240th Independence Day of the United States with the theme of “Celebrating America: The Birthplace of Jazz.” The event was held in the Indera Samudra Hall at the Empire Hotel and Country Club in Jerudong.
The Independence Day reception was attended by Guest of Honor Yang Berhormat Pehin Datu Lailaraja Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Hj Awang Halbi Hj Mohd Yussof, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports (MCYS) and spouse Datin Hajah Kalshom binti Haji Suhaili, as well as Brunei Government officials, members of the diplomatic community, business executives, media representatives, and other invited guests.
Ambassador Allen delivered brief remarks, notably on jazz’s reflection of America itself: “Jazz, its history, and the cultures associated with it perfectly demonstrate a number of traits that we, as Americans, hold dear: diversity, innovation, collaboration, and fun… Our jazz entertainment tonight is a manifestation of the fact that we believe that by experiencing some jazz here, you’re experiencing a piece of America—an America that, like jazz, is open, creative, embracing, expanding, exhilarating, diverse, and free.”
As a gift of appreciation, Ambassador Allen presented the Guest of Honor with a framed vinyl album by jazz legend John Coltrane titled, “A Love Supreme.”
The event included special performances by the Jazz Band, iFever, and the Jerudong International School (JIS) Jazz Band. Special renditions of the U.S. and Brunei Darussalam national anthems were performed by Sachi Dieker from Jerudong International School and Dayang Farah Aliyah binti Abdullah from Yayasan Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah School, respectively.