Let the music begin …with a sports virtuoso this time.
Ted Leonsis is to be honored at Covenant House Washington’s “A Night of Broadway Stars” Gala on Wednesday, June 20 at THEARC, at 1901 Mississippi Avenue, SE, Washington, D.C. Leonsis, a graduate of Georgetown University, is best known as majority owner of the NHL’s Washington Capitals, the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the Verizon Center.
Featuring some of Broadway’s top talent, the night begins with a cocktail reception followed by the musical performances and the award to Leonsis who surely will be introduced with some inspirational sporty songs. The evening concludes with champagne, dessert and a chance to mix and mingle with the stars and with DC Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who was Covenant House Washington’s first executive director.
Proceeds will benefit programs for at-risk and homeless young people in Washington D.C.
Composer and lyricist Neil Berg again produces the annual stage show. His credits include The Prince and the Pauper and Grumpy Old Men. He is the creator of Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway - the No. 1 Broadway touring concert in the U.S. Berg will be joined by Rita Harvey (Fiddler on the Roof, Phantom of the Opera), Ron Bohmer (Phantom Of The Opera, Sunset Boulevard, Les Miserables), Rob Evan(Jekyll & Hyde, Tarzan, Les Miserables), and Sophia Ramos (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The 12) and other Broadway luminaries.
“This cast is first rate. The audience will be enthralled by all the performances,” predicted gala chair Judith Terra, chairman of the D.C. Arts and Humanities Commission.
Before a crowd of several hundred admirers tapping their toes and joining in when the refrains were familiar, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer and the Honky Tonk Confidential band sang and played Civil War-era songs Thursday as BMI donated rare Confederate sheet music to the Smithsonian Institution during Flag Day ceremonies.
“This music reminds me that war must be the last resort,” said Schieffer, and dedicated the musical performance” to all of those who made the ultimate sacrifice” and their families throughout America’s history.
The donation from Broadcast Music Inc. consists of 83 pieces of sheet music published mainly in the South between 1816 and 1868.
The works enrich the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History's existing collection of Civil War music, which includes some 300 examples of Union music, but only 15 Confederate pieces. Twenty pieces of the Confederate sheet music are on display at the museum’s Archives Center.
Schieffer and the retro-country band belted out songs such as “When Johnnie Comes Marching Home,” the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” among others, as the diverse audience of many ages clapped and chimed in when the occasion demanded it. People listened from the balconies and special chairs set up in front of the stage at the gallery that holds the Star Spangled Banner.
Joining Schieffer were members of the DC-based band, Diana Quinn, Mike Woods, Sam Goodall, Mark Lindamood, Ruby Jane Smith, Ashley Melnick and Kaylee Hartung.
Melnick, who sang a female lead, is Miss Texas of 2010. She competed in the Miss America 2011 Pageant in Las Vegas and placed in the top 12.
Smith, a 17-year-old Texas-born fiddler, brought the audience to its feet with an Irish-inspired song from the era. She is the youngest fiddler invited to play at the Grand Ole Opry.
Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, paired with a band instead of a politician, will sing Civil War songs instead of talking about contemporary wars on Thursday, June 14, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.
The performance will be part of a special Flag Day performance of music from the recently acquired BMI Archives Confederate Music Collection.
The veteran CBS newsman will team with Honky Tonk Confidential, a D.C.-based country and western band, to perform songs selected from the larger body of sheet music in the collection. The performance follows a donation ceremony in front of the gallery that holds the recently restored Star-Spangled Banner, during which the museum will formally accept the donation from Broadcast Music Inc. Schieffer is a music enthusiast.
The free public event will begin at 11:00 am at the museum’s Flag Hall, (Constitution and 14th Street NW).
The works in this collection will enrich the museum’s existing collection of Civil War-era music, which includes some 300 examples of Union music but only 15 Confederate pieces. The donation consists of 83 pieces of sheet music published primarily in the South between 1861 and 1868.
“The collection enables the museum to document a crucial period in the nation’s history,” said Marc Pachter, the museum’s interim director. “Songs played an important role in creating a sense of nationalism in the Confederate states, and the lyrics and the illustrations of the sheet music provide insight into the experiences, emotions and concerns of the people living during the Civil War.”
Twenty pieces of the Confederate sheet music are on view outside of the museum’s Archives Center, located on the first floor, through July 13. They give visitors the opportunity to explore the role of music during the Civil War, particularly about how the goals and values of the Confederacy found expression in sheet music and how sheet music expressed themes common to both sides during the war. Music and songs in general reflect a nation’s cultural values, and the political ideology and economic concerns of its people.
Some of those concerns and ideology wouldn’t fly today, of course, but collecting and maintaining these historical artifacts helps us understand who we are now and how we got to this point.
“This donation represents another step in our long partnership with the Smithsonian, supporting the museum’s initiatives to tell the story of American music throughout our nation’s history,” said Del Bryant, BMI President and CEO. “We are pleased that these rare examples of music from the Civil War era are available in a special display and became part of the Smithsonian’s permanent collection.”
The museum preserves many objects relating to the Civil War, both from military and civilian perspectives and this display is part of a Smithsonian-wide commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.
For more information, visit Civil War 150.