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Monday, January 28, 2013

National Symphony Orchestra tickets on sale for $11

Frederic Chopin playing the piano in Prince Radziwill's Salon, 1887/Henryk Siemiradzki and Wikimedia Commons.  At the end of the piano seated beside the standing woman is, perhaps, Prince Radziwill, looking at the viewer and bearing a strong resemblance to Congressman James Moran (D-VA). What do you think? Emanuel Ax and the National Symphony Orchestra will play Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2, April 4 and April 5, 2013. 


You must purchase a minimum of three tickets at $11 each for National Symphony Orchestra performances to take advantage of this outstanding sale. No handling fee.

Deadline to purchase is February 22, 2013.

Music lovers:  How can you beat this? 

Offered are concerts on Thursday and Friday nights (no Saturdays or pops) at the Kennedy Center.

You may call the subscription office at 202-416-8500, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and talk with a human or log on, according to the card in the mail, to nationalsymphony.org/TriplePlay and order, however, just like last year, I am still (after triple plays) unable to log on.  Or find that site.  Whatever.  It's a deal which I bought last year ordering from a person.

Here are a quick calendar and programs for the remainder of the 2013 season.   Click here for more description.

Feb. 21 and Feb. 22:  Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto

Feb. 28 and Mar. 1: Nordic Classic Cool (Sibelius)

Mar. 7 and Mar. 8: Mozart's Requiem

Mar. 28 and Mar. 29: Beethoven's Violin Concerto

Apr. 4 and Apr. 5: Emanuel Ax plays Chopin

Apr. 25: Beethoven and Tchaikovsky

Apr. 26: Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4 and more

May 2: Elgar's Cello Concerto

May 3: Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5

May 30 and May 31: Respighi and Ravel

June 6 and June 7: Dvorak's Violin Concerto

June 13 and June 14: Ravel and Vaughan Williams

June 20: Thibaudet plays MacMillan

June 21: Thibaudet plays Saint-Saens

$33 (total) will get you three seats on Tier 2, however, $66 buys three better seats on the orchestra level, or $99 will get even better seats on orchestra. 
  
Hurry since the offer may be withdrawn at any time (i.e., when NSO reaches target sales).


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Saturday, January 26, 2013

'Shock' art at the National Gallery of Art exits Sunday

Kim Rugg, No More Dry-Runs, 2008, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., gift of the Collectors Committee, 2009
 
This is one of those outstanding exhibitions that you want to remain permanent, so you can go by the National Gallery and study the pictures again and again, and uncover more intrigue upon every visit.

So much art and not enough time.  Folks, just one more day.

Shock of the News at the National Gallery of Art is absolutely must viewing for anyone remotely associated with news or art or history which pretty well includes everyone in Washington, D.C, or why are you here?

The power of art.

This show begins in 1909 with a front page story in Le Figaro by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, an Italian poet and playwright. "Le Futurisme" is about the birth of futurism, a column so audacious and inflammatory, it launched the movement, "shock of the news."
Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Le Futurisme in Le Figaro, February 20, 1909, newspaper, collection Ohnesorge Martin-Malburet



About four years later, Pablo Picasso embedded a piece of newspaper in his collage, Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass, which, according to the event catalog, "was widely considered the first self-consciously modern work of art to incorporate real newsprint."
 
Pablo Picasso, Guitar, Sheet Music, and Glass,1912, Collection of the McNay Art Museum, bequest of Marion Koogler McNay

Subsequently, a new art forum was born which spread rapidly throughout Europe and to the U.S. It pierced cubism, Dadaism, and futurism, embracing artists like Man Ray, Georges Braque and Juan Gris.

The exhibition includes 65 paintings, sculpture, prints and other media, arranged chronologically and tracing the development over 100 years. (Interestingly, in the first gallery on the right wall, half of the pieces feature the word “glass” in their titles.)

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Said National Gallery Director Earl A. Powell III at the opening, the show shapes “our understanding of modern artists’ responses to the newspaper,” calling the presentation the first to offer an “examination of the newspaper as both a material and subject.”

The show is not newspaper design work, but artists' creations employing newspapers. (Overheard on steps to the Mezzanine: “What’s Shock of the News about?” Answer: “Oh, I saw it in Chicago. It’s comic strips.” Not!)

Many of the pieces make political statements, especially renderings made after World War II: Stalingrad, the German occupation of France, the Black Panthers, Sino-American relations, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Berlin, Palestine, Patrice Lumumba and Moise Tshombe, and oh! Salvatore Dali. He devoted a newspaper to himself. Shocking. Who would have thought?







Salvadore Dali, Dali News, November 20, 1945, The Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL

In the third and last gallery is a work by Sarah Charlesworth reminiscent of the National Gallery's neighbor across Pennsylvania Avenue, the Newseum which features daily window displays of newspaper front pages. Ms. Charlesworth's Modern History: April 21, 1978 shows a portion of the front pages of 45 newspapers and treatment by their editors of a photograph of kidnapped former Italian prime minister, Aldo Moro, who was killed on May 9, 1978 by members of the paramilitary organization, the Red Brigades.



Sarah Charlesworth, Modern History, April 21, 1978, Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Justin Smith Purchase Fund, 2003


Kim Rugg in “No More Dry Ruins," (2008) cut out every letter from the August 8, 2008 edition of the Financial Times and rearranged them in alphabetical order (illustration at top).

Robert Gober redesigned a wedding page from a 1960 New York Times to include a small story about his own death by drowning at age 6. The article claims his mother was held for questioning.
Perhaps Gober's mother ignored child rearing to concentrate on her wedding business (if she had one) since another Gober piece (Newspaper, 1992) focuses on a photo of a bridal gown advertisement and Gober is the bride in wedding attire! Running on the same page is the story of a beating death of a youth by his mother.


Robert Gober, Newspaper, 1992, the artist and Matthews Marks Gallery


Still another article on Gober's Newspaper, 1992 page describes the Vatican's stance against gay rights which, according to the catalog, annoyed the Catholic Church when the work went up in 2000 at a San Francisco show.

Just before the exhibition's entrance, do not overlook, on the right, Mario Merz’s To Mallarme (2003) which is stacks of 2003 Italian and Arabic newspapers laid out over almost 24 feet with the words, in blue neon, translated from the French, “a throw of the dice never will abolish chance.”

This title comes from Stephane Mallarme’s 1897 poem, "Un coup de des jamais n'abolira le hasard." The newpapers' publication dates coincide with George Bush's invasion of Iraq.

Some of the other artists represented in the exhibition are Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly, Jorge Macchi, Paul Sietsema,Paul Klee, Max Weber, the Guerilla Girls, Hannah Hoch, Joseph Beuys , Andy Warhol, Laurie Anderson, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenberg, Semen Fridliand, and Paul Thek.

The catalog of 200+ pages has many color illustrations and provides rich background about the artists and their works. It was written by Judith Brodie, the National Gallery's curator and head of the department of modern prints and drawings, who spent five years developing the exhibition.

Hurry, before they disappear.

The exhibition was made possible by the Leonard and Evelyn Lauder Foundation. The Corinne H. Buck Charitable Lead Trust helped with the publication of the catalog.

What: Shock of the News

When: Open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Saturday, and 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sunday.

Where: East Building, National Gallery of Art, between Third and Fourth Streets at Constitution Avenue, N.W.

How much: No charge

For more information: (202) 737-4215

Metro stations: Judiciary Square, Navy Memorial-Archives, or the Smithsonian

1 Year Subscription to Vanity Fair Print & Digital - only $15!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra rocks with Rachmaninoff

Sergei Romaninoff, age 12/Wikimedia Commons

To hear guest pianist Garrick Ohlsson play Rachmaninoff's Third Piano Concerto is to enjoy a sensual experience which is not plentiful enough in anyone’s life. 

At Strathmore last weekend, music lovers sat like statues without moving while Ohlsson and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra played what is considered one of the most, if not the most, difficult of all piano concertos,  which was also the composer's (1873-1943) favorite piano concerto.

Garrick Ohlsson/instantencore.com

Some audience members draped over railings, others leaned forward with elbows on knees, chins resting on palms, hypnotized and afraid they might miss one of the many notes.  Equally as spellbound as their parents and grandparents were the young people who attended.

The hands of the pianist, who was the first American to win the International Frederick Chopin Piano Competition (1970), raced up and down the keyboard all night, crossing each other and moving almost as quickly as a hummingbird's wings.  

Ohlsson said later that memorization plays no role in his performance for he’s played Rach 3 “thousands of times,” and it has become part of his persona. His brain and fingers know what to do.

Maestro Marin Alsop and the orchestra complemented the pianist splendidly, and it was no surprise at the end when audience members, who filled the house, leaped up, applauding madly and shouting "Bravo" to four encores.
Conductor Marin Alsop/Opus 3 Artists

In a 30-minute conversation with audience members afterwards, Conductor Alsop said enthusiasm for the production helps her determine future programming, and the crowd cheered. 

Ohlsson began studies at Julliard when he was 13, and heard "Rach 3" the next year.   His teacher ordered him to play it at age 15 to avoid intimidation, he said.

Alsop and Ohlsson answered questions from the audience, bantering back and forth, quite at ease with themselves and each other. Approximately half the Strathmore house stayed late to listen.

Oh!  Crusted tilapia, couscous, and salad for $19.95 at the Strathmore restaurant. Great price and delicious, but the meal's pleasure is diluted by having to eat it on your lap because of insufficient tables and chairs.  Please, Strathmore.

Free parking at the Metro parking garage next door!

BSO concerts coming up at Strathmore:

Jan. 24:  Hairspray in Concert, 8 p.m.

Feb. 2:  Pictures at an Exhibition, 8 p.m. (Hindemith, Mozart, Mussorgsky by Ravel)

Feb. 7:  Stephen Hough plays Liszt

And on March 4 Ohlsson joins the Iceland Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center to play Grieg's Piano Concerto No. 1.


Patricialesli@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Inauguration Diary

patricia leslie

Dear Diary,

Enough people are writing about the speech and apparel and all, I thought I would bring you some flavor from the people.

In four years I hope I am not as dumb as I was this year to buy a parade ticket.  With my ticket in hand today, what did it matter?  Police at F and 14th, my assigned entry, would not let me in.  $44, that's all.  It's not like I am a member of the one percent.
Tickets didn't mean much to the police at 14th and F/patricia leslie

Mr. President, you say "the people this" and "the people that."  Well, what about letting "the people" see your parade?  Is there a place we can see it without paying a fee? Is there a place we can see it paying a fee?
Up 14th "the people" stood behind a fence and caught glimpses of the parade, about a half football field away/patricia leslie


But to begin the day.  Not all was a loss, by any stretch. Metro was almost empty.  Amazing. And everyone's raving about the president's speech.

I lucked out and got a red ticket for the swearing-in which was terrific.


This line behind the congressional house office buildings required about an hour's wait before ticket holders reached "security check-in."/patricia leslie

After the security check, the lines at the porta-potties required another 20 to 30 minutes wait.  I don't suppose anyone thought ahead to order more porta-potties to satisfy the needs of several thousand people.  And early in the morning, already no t.p. (But I know those porta-potty party planners have never used porta-potties in all their party lives, and I came equipped.)
Knock!  Knock!  Who's there?  Well, it ain't Congress on the throne/patricia leslie

And then there was the man in the tree.



You can see him holding a large white saucer near the top of the tree/patricia leslie
 

Actually, he looked to be an elderly gentleman who climbed a tree on the Capitol grounds and screamed the whole time about killing babies.  At first, I was hoping his voice would give out, but no.  He kept at it.

In my section, we sighed and blessed the United States of America which permits freedom of speech, even if we were a bit annoyed. 

Question:  How was he able to get this sign past security?  Maybe it was an earlier plant.



A  man in a tree at the Inauguration/patricia leslie

A woman on the Metro who stood in the green section with her family told me later that police erected two ladders to go up and get the man, but he climbed higher, just like a kitty cat or a monkey, and they let him alone and surrounded the base of the tree.  I wonder if he's still up there.   He might be frozen by now.  As a matter of fact, his mouth might be wired shut.



Part of the crowd on the Capitol grounds with Ulysses S. Grant on the horse in the distance and the East Building of the National Gallery of Art beyond/patricia leslie



This woman wore heels on grass (!), but was not totally brain dead since, look!  She brought another pair of shoes/patricia leslie

You wanted to ride Metro, huh?  Before nightfall? This was at Federal Center South/patricia leslie

While walking towards the Washington Monument after the ceremony ended so I could get to my refused entry at 14th and F (2.5 hours), I met up at 2:50 p.m. on 18th with three ladies from Columbia, S.C. (Yes, we had to go that far west to cross Pennsylvania and get to the other side of the road like herded chickens, since Pennsylvania was blocked, of course, for miles. And years before the parade even started.)

The visitors said they needed to be at RFK Stadium at 3 p.m. to board their chartered bus back home.  They said a policeman had sent them up 18th. To RFK? Well, what a surprise. A policeman on Independence told me I could cross Pennsylvania at 15th.  They must have been those police imports from Georgia since they knew nothing about D.C. streets.

I said "Ladies, I hate to give you bad news, but you ain't going to make RFK in 10 minutes." They assured me their bus would not leave them.

About that time we came to this unusual sculpture of Starbux cups.


A Starbux sculpture on 18th/patricia leslie

And up the street I met this nice fellow from New York who told me he'd been in Washington selling Obama condoms for three days.  He didn't know if it was a profitable venture or not, but he said he had a wad of cash in his pocket.


The different kinds of condoms available were Hope is Not a Form of Protection, the White House Stimulus Package, and Use with Good Judgement (sic!)/patricia leslie

I walked on…and on…and on until I came to said entry point at F and 14th, and the police said, "Nope, not you sister."  Gee, thanks a lot.  Live and learn. End of day. But I sure 'nuf got in my exercise on Inauguration Day. 

P.S. I don't think we are one nation and one people.  I think we are many nations and many people. What's wrong with that?


Everyone is acclaiming the president's speech on Monday, however, I haven't listened to Fox/patricia leslie

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Funky, funky, funky times at Millennium Stage

Big Sam's Funky Nation at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage/patricia leslie

Funky, funky, funky…Big Sam and his Funky Nation came to the Kennedy Center Thursday night in a free performance at Millennium Stage and forced the audience to jump out of our seats and dance right away

“Get up! Get up!” he ordered the crowd, as soon as he pranced on stage.

“Get up! Do you feel like movin' your body?" he screamed, and the crowd roared:  "YES!"

Big Sam told us to "get up," and we got up.  He was looking for a "funky donkey."/patricia leslie

We couldn't help but do what Big Sam told us to do, and we leaped and gyrated and moved our bodies.  No sitting down listening to pretty music with Big Sam.  That's not what it's all about. 
Under the lights and on the video screen was Big Sam's Funky Nation at Millennium Stage/patricia leslie
Young (five months), old (several in their 80s) and those in-between bumped and grinded (ground?) and waved hands (or had them waved) for almost all of the 50-minute show.

You missed your exercise Thursday?  You could have exercised with Sam and used up about 500 calories.
Big Sam Williams at Millennium Stage/patricia leslie

Of course, it was a SRO-crowd with four or five rows deep behind the ropes and standing on their feet the entire time, but we with seats were standing, too.  We were dancing in the aisles.

The horns!  Sam plays a mean trombone!  Big Sam's Funky Nation is from New Orleans, he told us twice, and one of the band members said Sam was 6'2" and 225 pounds, but from way in the back, he didn't look that big, however, with a name like "Big Sam," I was expecting a really big Sam, like maybe 300 pounds, so 225 looked normal.  Where was I?
Big Sam and Funky Nation at Millennium Stage/patricia leslie

The announced band members, save for Chocolate Milk (drums) (that's what Sam and the program said his name was), did not appear to be the band members' names in the program which were Andrew Baham (trumpet, vocals and keyboard), Andrew Block (guitar), and Eric Vogel (bass guitar).

Two of the tunes:  "Thank you for Letting Me Be Myself," (we sang along) and "She's Got Me Breakin' the Rules, I'm About to Lose My Cool, I Got to Get Away" or something like that.  It's not like I know funky.

Millennium Stage is a fantastic place to take children and introduce them to live music and dance. Noise is not a problem, and they (and you) can be free and move and sing with everybody else.  Plus, the cost can't be beat.

But there's the little matter of service at the Kennedy Center

Ahem:

Attention, Kennedy Center:  Presumably, a goal is increased revenue.  One way to increase revenue is to increase the number of bartenders and cash registers, and then you can sell more products!  (Well, duh.) In the ONLY line Thursday night, I stood with 17 others waiting on service for Happy Hour. 

“Just a beer,” I pleaded when I finally made it to the front of the line.  “Any old beer will do as long as it's the coldest and not those hot Stellas you just brought out in that box.  Oh, and I'll take some nuts, too." 

Kennedy Center: You could take some of those 1,000 ushers in the red coats who always seem to be beating us down and practically throwing us out of our seats for who knows what violation, maybe having the gall to cross our legs, one of which might just stick out in the aisle a wee bit, and have them sell beer and what-nots.

What?  You didn't know beer-drinkers were going to show up for Big Sam's Funky Nation?  I didn't hear Guy Lombardo playing at the Millennium Stage Thursday night.  But that might be because he died in 1977. And you don't know who Guy Lombard was, do you?  Well, a single refreshment line might have satisfied his crowd just fine, thank you.  Please check your listings.



patricialesli@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bluegrass in Herndon

Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass.  From left, Doug Meek, Ryan Paisley, Eric Troutman, Danny Paisley, and Mark Delaney/Priscilla Warnock

At the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Herndon Saturday night, Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass entertained an audience with some down-home traditional bluegrass in high style.

In the sanctuary, guest from about three years (who danced in the aisle) to 83 (who danced in their seats) tapped their feet and legs to keep up with the lively tunes which Paisley played on guitar with his son, Ryan, a star on the mandolin, and other band members:  Doug Meek on fiddle; Eric Troutman, bass;  and Mark Delaney, banjo.

Ryan Paisley was a star again last Saturday night/patricia leslie

What is it about bluegrass which is always refreshing and energizing? And makes you happy? The mournful tunes are still able to give listeners an uplift.  Maybe it's their sincerity and their real life bases.

The titles of some of the tunes Southern Grass sang were: "I Overlooked An Orchid," "You Can't Judge a Book by Its Cover," "What Can I Do…You Win Again," "Road into Town," "Bluegrass Breakdown," and "I've Been Walkin' (the Dog and Thinking about You)."  Do these names sound country or what?

If you shut your eyes Saturday night, you could have been at another church, this one at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

From left, Ryan Paisley, Eric Troutman, and Danny Paisley entertained an enthusiastic crowd at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Herndon/patricia leslie

The next area appearance for the Southern Grass boys will be Sunday, January 13, at 4 p.m. at Jumbo Jimmy’s in Perryville, Maryland. 

You can take the girl out of the hills, but you can't take the hills out of the girl.

patricialesli@gmail.com

Monday, January 7, 2013

Free Lafayette Square concert January 9

Marvin Mills at Riverside Church, 2003
 
Marvin Mills, concert organist, will play at St. John's Church, Lafayette Square in a 30-minute performance beginning at 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, and the public is invited.

On the program is Avec une touche Francaise, with works by Saint-Saens, Widor, Durufle, Litaize, and Dupre.  The presentation is part of the church's "First Wednesday" series.

Mills is organist for St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Kensington, Maryland, and music director for the National Spiritual Ensemble.  He has performed at the Kennedy Center, The Academy of Music in Philadelphia, the Barns at Wolf Trap, and with choral groups and symphonies throughout the U.S. In a weekly series of 14 programs at All Soul's Church Unitarian in Washington, Mills played the complete organ works of Johann Sebastian Bach.

 St. John's, Lafayette Square/patricia leslie
 

Other noontime concerts in the First Wednesday series at St. John's are:

Feb. 6: Soloists from St. John's Choir

Mar. 6: Bianca Garcia, flute, assisted by Michael Lodico, organist, featuring the world premiere of a work by Stephen Cabell


Apr. 3: Benjamin Hutto, director of music ministry and organist, St. John's, performing "Organ Treasure Old and New"


May 1: Alvy Powell, bass-baritone and Gershwin interpreter


June 5: Jeremy Filsell, Washington National Cathedral Artist-in-Residence, performing organ works by Bach, Dupre, and Rachmaninov

St. John's, known to many Washington residents as the yellow church on Lafayette Square, is often called the “Church of the Presidents.” Beginning with James Madison, who was president from 1809 to 1817, every president has either been a member of, or has attended services at St. John's, including President Barack Obama and his family. A plaque at the rear of the church designates the Lincoln pew where President Abraham Lincoln sat when he often stopped by St. John's during the Civil War.


Who:  Marvin Mills, concert organist

When: 12:10 p.m., January 9, 2013

Where: St. John’s, Lafayette Square, 1525 H Street, NW, at the corner of 16th, Washington, D.C. 20005

How much: No charge


Duration: About 35 minutes


Wheelchair accessible


Metro stations: McPherson Square or Farragut North


For more information: 202-347-8766


patricialesli@gmail.com

Sunday, January 6, 2013

'Les Miz' singing leaves you miserables

Universal Pictures


Really.

It's atrocious.

Somewhat like Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan trying to sing in Mamma Mia, only much worse.

But this is an opera.

But not for opera fans. 

It's a Les Miz nut flick, as in, only the dedicated need bear arms and go.  What you see on stage should remain on stage.  The producers of Phantom of the Opera were able to bring that one off stage quite successfully.  Not this one.

At the movie house, there was so much outbound traffic in the lane (aisle) beside me, it was like the wall had been removed, and we were suddenly exposed to Lee Highway.  (Were moviegoers leaving for restroom breaks?  Popcorn?  But few made it back.)

Why do movie producers hire actors who can't sing?  Is this the fad du jour?  I don't understand.  There aren't any actors left who can belt out a tune?

Anne Hathaway (Fantine) and  Hugh Jackman (Jean Valjean) sang solos lasting about 30 minutes each with no other visuals but close-ups of their faces, and it was tiresome.  After about 30 seconds. It was like a talent show at the elementary school you are forced to attend to see your neighbor's youngest perform, but Amanda Sue would have been more entertaining.  But not to go overboard.

Speaking of...on a bridge over troubled waters (sorry), Russell Crowe (Javert) sang and walked for so long, the Seine almost dried up and the vultures came out. 

Not everything was lackluster.  Take the aerials, for instance.

And some of the voices were downright good, like Amanda Seyfried's (Cosette), Samatha Barks's (Eponine), and Eddie Redmayne's (Marius). And thank goodness for Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter (M/M Thenardier) who provided much needed comic relief. 
 
Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen are hilarious in Les Miserables/Universal Pictures


Folks, the new Angelika Theater in Merrifield is great, but at $13 a pop, the movie had better be great (or near great). Please, spare me any more musicals which should remain on stage and nothing more.  Thank you.

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Friday, January 4, 2013

A Metro serenade

The Rev. Fisher Yang sang on the Orange Line on New Year's Eve/patricia leslie

On New Year’s Eve I was a passenger on an Orange Line train from Virginia which the Rev. Fisher Yang, 50, of Centreville, Virginia, boarded around Ballston, I think it was. Mr. Yang is the man you may have read about who sings Christmas hymns out loud on the Metro.

Last month the Washington Post ran a somewhat negative story (surprise!) about Mr. Yang and the riders whom Mr. Yang annoys.

Mr. Yang sang for us, too. I welcomed his presence and song.


How nice to have someone take enough interest in us to sing, we the forgotten, the lonely workers off to plow our trade on a day when most others were still celebrating the holidays. We, the silent and expressionless, slumped in depression, and sad about what lay ahead.

With the exception of a woman in a red coat who expressed irritation and asked him to stop singing, the rest of us began to brighten.  We smiled and nodded at Mr. Yang and each other and listened.

He brought a fresh perspective to our trip. He cast a new light on another day. His singing was pleasant, and certainly his words gave pause to listeners about praise and thanksgiving. Thanks to God for the gifts we take for granted.

When Mr. Yang finished several verses, he waved his finger at the rude woman as he exited the train and said: “You need to have an open mind.”

She made some nasty remark about his voice before she disembarked a few minutes later at Foggy Bottom, perhaps on her way to work at a South American embassy, perhaps for a nation which does not tolerate free speech.

Amazingly, three days later Mr. Yang boarded my train again, this time at West Falls Church, and like on Monday, he asked for attention before he sang a hymn about "I Surrender."  The car was much more crowded, SRO, but the riders remained silent and respectful; no one complained, and many clapped when Mr. Yang finished and got off at East Falls Church.
The Rev. Fisher Yang was singing three days later on the Orange Line/patricia leslie

I admired Mr. Yang’s bravery in the face of ridicule. Can you take a public stand for what you believe in?

Thank you, Mr. Yang, for bringing attention to the gifts we often ignore and take for granted. Thanks to God for people like you.

patricialesli@gmail.com