I was first contracted to put stories into lyrics for song when the Washington National Opera collaborated with the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative, in November 2009, participating in a project for the program Community In Bloom. For this, the recollections of citizens of Ward 7 were recorded; these reminiscences turned out to span more than a few generations of families, who had been in this particular area of the District, and spoke to a wealth of history slowly being erod
…the school year has begun well; this is my third year in the Washington National Opera/DC PS, Guest Artist Teaching program. I am working in 3 schools this term. The Look-In presentation, at the Kennedy Center, was terrific; it flowed with an engaging narrative that was delivered by ‘archetypal’ characters, created by students from the Duke Ellington School for the Arts.
Situated on a prominent knob, raised above the district of Anacostia, Frederick Douglass’ house has a magisterial view of Washington, and is evidence of the eminence this African-American statesman had achieved in his lifetime. Built in 1850, Douglass moved into the house in 1878, naming it Cedar Hill, and relishing its bucolic aspect above the river.
Wednesday I was at the National Press Club, here in DC, attending the 43rd Anniversary Luncheon for the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum. The invitation came through the Washington National Opera, and I went with my colleague, Stephanie Wright. I’d said ‘definitely’ to the invitation, when asked some time ago, because, as far as I was concerned, it was a free lunch!