Brown-haired woman on the left, smiling. Blond-haired man with dark thick-framed glasses to the right, smiling. Behind them is the interior of the National Building Museum. They are standing on the third floor. The room is sunlit and there are beige, marble pillars.

Month 7: Creating Buildings and Building Creations

(Pictured L-R: Elisabeth Perry, Douglas Rosenthal) Cultural Event: Tour of the National Building Museum Elisabeth and I are childhood friends. We are the same age, and we grew up just a block away from each other for our first 13 years of life. Now, we both live in DC. We meet up a few times a year, and it always makes me happy. Last month, we visited the National Building Museum. It was the first visit for both of us. We enjoyed walking around the interior, which boasts some of the largest pillars in the world. Many famous … Continue Reading

Douglas Rosenthal and Randy Hawes standing across the street from the Massachusetts State House's main enterance. Douglas is wearing a light brown scarf, brown jacket, and thick-frame black glasses to the right of Randy, who is wearing a dark brown jacket and thick-framed black glasses as well. The Massachusetts State House has a gold-leaf dome on top of a brown building with white molding and white pillars.

Month 6: On the Hill and On the Streets

(Pictured L-R: Douglas Rosenthal, Randall Hawes) Cultural Event: Tour of the Massachusetts State House Well friends, I’ve reached the half-way point of this challenge! February brought me to Boston, so I wandered over to Beacon Hill with my friend, former teacher, and fellow trombonist Randy Hawes of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. As readers of this blog might guess, I take a big interest in U.S. politics and history. I also love art and architecture. So once I moved to the Mid-Atlantic, I found myself enjoying my share of state legislature tours. And after my first few, I … Continue Reading

Woman with red hat and brown hair holding a white sign with colorful lettering that says "Girls Just Want to Have Fun-Damental Rights". Standing outside on a brick sidewalk with a lampost behind her on her right.

Month 5: Steps Backward and Steps Forward

Cultural Event: As You Like It Last month took me to another theater. I finally paid a visit to the Folger Shakespeare Library which, in addition to having the world’s largest Shakespeare Collection, presents month-long productions of numerous Shakespeare works every season. My exposure to Shakespeare has been limited to the works I studied in high school.  While enjoyed learning about them, I still would consider myself a newcomer. And incidentally, seeing As You Like It brought me into the same world that so many classical music patrons experience. This was a good reminder for … Continue Reading

Ten Christmas Carolers in an office posing smiled in front of a Christmas Tree. All are wearing festive attire, a few are wearing t-shirts that say "DC Paid Family Leave".

Month 4: Song and Dance and Paid Leave

Cultural Event: Into the Woods In December, I ventured a couple hundred feet away from my chair in the Kennedy Center Opera House to a neighboring venue in the building. I saw Stephen Sondheim’s beloved Into the Woods, and it was presented in a completely unique way. First off, there was no orchestra. Rather, the actors played instruments during scenes that they otherwise would have been offstage. This admittedly made me skeptical and of course disappointed to think of musicians being put on the chopping block. But I opened up to the idea once I learned … Continue Reading

A brick exterior is to the left, and a night sky is to the right. In the bottom right-hand corner, there are windows and a roof. In the center are two signs. The one on top reads "Jazz Blues Alley" with a finger pointing downwards. The lower sign reads "Heidi Martin Quartet". The signs are white, the writing is in black. Two floodlights light up the sign from the left.

Month 3: Fairness, and all that Jazz

 Cultural Event: Heidi Martin Quartet at Blues Alley Continuing with my monthly challenge, I picked jazz for November’s non-classical music event. Blues Alley is a premier institution in Washington, DC, a town that has historically been an epicenter for jazz. It took over four years of living here, but I finally made it to this club. Vocalist Heidi Martin is a native Washingtonian. Her quartet included bassist Michael Bowie, drummer Corey Fonville, pianist Colin Chambers, and trumpeter Donvonte McCoy. The music that evening  surveyed the career of Abbey Lincoln, a jazz artist who significantly influenced … Continue Reading

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