National Symphony Orchestra Returns to East of the River
National Symphony Orchestra brings "NSO in Your Neighborhood" back to east of the river. Free music events will be held in Anacostia, Barry Farm, Congress Heights, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and Bellevue
Get ready Anacostia, Barry Farm, Congress Heights, Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and Bellevue for a variety of music programs coming to the area through the National Symphony Orchestra’s “NSO In Your Neighborhood” from Sept. 16-25.
Over 10 days, residents of Wards 7 and 8 can hear chamber and full orchestra performances, participate in reading time with NSO musicians, get involved with drumming workshops and be guided in wellness and yoga sessions accompanied by live music.
“NSO In Your Neighborhood (IYN)” serves as a Kennedy Center program with Wells Fargo as the presenting sponsor.
“We have supported this event since 2014,” said Wells Fargo Regional Branch Manager Shanan Hill. “We thought about areas where people may not have an opportunity to hear an orchestra or go to the Kennedy Center.”
During the kickoff on Sept. 16, the initial public event will be held at longtime IYN partner Busboys and Poets on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Other venues will include: Oxon Run Park-James E. Bunn Amphitheater, THEARC, the Anacostia Arts Center, Parklands-Turner Neighborhood Library, Martha’s Table at The Commons, Wells Fargo Ward 8 Branch on Alabama Avenue, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Skyland Town Center and the Entertainment & Sports Arena.
The pandemic put many cultural arts programs on hold but NSO successfully created modified music outreach performances throughout the District. The orchestra pivoted by setting up concerts at hospitals during the height of COVID-19.
“We actually kept going,” said NSO’s General Manager Genevieve Twomey. “We reached out to first responders and hospitals asking if we could do chamber performances.”
In 2020, NSO presented several chamber performances for nurses and doctors. In most cases, the performances took place outdoors. Examples included a Children’s National Hospital chamber music concert held in its “Healing Garden,” Suburban Hospital providing its drive-up circle as a “stage” on which NSO musicians performed and outside of Howard University Hospital in the quad area where musicians entertained hospital personnel. Nurses’ stations at Fairfax Hospital also served as sites for small chamber performances.
“We were very responsive to health protocols,” Twomey said. “We took music to 12 hospitals in the area.”
Wells Fargo expressed its excitement to continue its support of NSO for the upcoming family affair concert series in Wards 7 and 8. Small groups of musicians will include: a trombone quartet at Bunn Amphitheater; a performance from Marissa Regni, violinist, and Kari Paludan, soprano vocalist, at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling; a string quartet consisting of Derek Powell, violinist, Peiming Lin, violinist, Mahoko Eguchi, violist, and Rachel Young, cellist, at Homeland Security on the St. Elizabeths West Campus; and percussionist Scott Christian with students from Levine Music Center performing at THEARC.
When looking at a map indicating where IYN events had previously been held, NSO and Wells Fargo agreed on expanding relationships in “east of the river” communities.
On Sept. 22, at the concert at the Entertainment & Sports Arena, Conductor Kellen Gray will lead the NSO in selections from a diverse group of composers. The concert will conclude with a nod in orchestral flair to Go-Go, D.C.’s official music.