Month 7: Creating Buildings and Building Creations


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.(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 events are held there regularly, from important speeches to ritzy parties.

There were also a few exhibits. We learned about the Timber Industry. We saw models and photos of homes from around the world. And we got an in-depth, historical perspective of two DC neighborhoods that the museum was featuring.

Then we bought Girl Scout Cookies and ate some with coffee. What a great afternoon.

A choir of ten people and one man playing the piano perform in front of a conference room with a projector screen behind them.

Labor Event: From Page to Stage

Last month, I attended a presentation that connected a book with a new opera.

In 2003, Duke University Public Policy Professor Robert Korstad wrote Civil Rights Unionism: Tobacco Workers and the Struggle for Democracy in the Mid-Twentieth-Century South. It is the account of African American women who led a tobacco workers’ strike in Winston-Salem, North Carolina during the 1940s. Ultimately, the solidarity of the Winston-Salem African American Community proved to be an essential force in the strike’s success.

This book inspired Washington, DC composer Steve Jones to write his jazz opera Love Songs from the Liberation Wars: the 1940s Tobacco Workers’ Struggle, which was premiered in Silver Spring, Maryland this past March 30th.

The Metro Washington Council of the AFL-CIO, which connects labor organizations from all over the DC area, hosted a joint presentation given by both Korstad and Jones. At the conclusion, members of the DC Labor Chorus gave a preview of selections from the opera.

About Doug Rosenthal

No one told Douglas Rosenthal to give up playing music. Not even his patient siblings, who endured many early-morning practice sessions; even they encouraged their brother to follow his passion. As the years passed, that passion evolved from simply playing music to advocating for music, musicians, and music-lovers. Douglas is based in Washington, DC. He is the Assistant Principal Trombonist of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra/Washington National Opera Orchestra. He currently makes his home on Capitol Hill in DC with a pug named Jake, who serves as a constant reminder to relax, eat well, and sleep plentifully.

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