It’s a Lowcountry tradition for so many locals and visitors alike to celebrate Memorial Day weekend with the Hilton Head Choral Society’s annual “America Sings!” concert. It’s an evening of patriotic music that you don’t want to miss. And this year, the guest speaker will be a special treat!

The concert will take place on Sunday, May 28 at 7 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 540 William Hilton Parkway. The Choral Society will be joined by the Savannah Brass Quintet for this true celebration of the American spirit.

In true patriotic fashion, the special guest speaker will be General Lloyd W. “Fig” Newton—Retired United States Air Force four-star general originally from Ridgeland, SC. He was the first African-American pilot in the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. He’s basically a Lowcountry legend and his personal account of his dedication to our country for more than three decades will truly move you.

“Fig” earned his BS in aviation education from Tennessee State University and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. He later received a MA in Public Administration from George Washington University.

In 1968, he flew 269 combat missions in Vietnam and was later selected to join the U.S. Air Force Aerial Demonstration Squadron, “The Thunderbirds,” making him the first African American pilot to fly with the team. From 1978 to 1982, he was assigned as an Air Force congressional liaison officer with the U.S. House of Representatives. He has commanded three Air Force wings, an air division, and held numerous senior staff positions. General Newton also served as the Director of Operations, J-3, U.S. Special Operations Command and as Assistant Vice Chief of Staff Headquarters U.S. Air Force.

He culminated his Air Force career as the Commander of Air Education and Training Command, responsible for recruiting, training, and education for all Air Force personnel. In 1998, General Newton was inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame, and in 2005 he was appointed by President Bush to serve as a Commissioner on the Defense 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission. He was appointed by President Obama to serve as a Commissioner for the White House Fellows Program in 2009. In total, General Newton served a successful 34 ½ year career with the U.S. Air Force before his retirement. He is married to Elouise and resides in Bluffton.

The Savannah Brass Quintet

And don’t forget the music! Sing along with us as we open the concert with the “Star Spangled Banner” followed by moving patriotic arrangements by the Savannah Brass Quintet. The evening will also feature classics like “Followers of the Lamb,” “Song for the Unsung Hero,” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

And of course, the evening will also include a heartfelt tribute to the men and women of our Armed Forces, both present and past.

There’s no better way to get into the patriotic spirit than by listening to the music of the HHCS at the annual “America Sings!” concert. So get your tickets online today. For more information or for assistance placing your ticket order, call 843-341-3818 or email