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Monday, September 29, 2014

Free 'First Wednesday' noon concerts debut Oct. 1 at St. John's, Lafayette Square

The U.S. Army Chorus
On October 1 the United States Army Chorus will inaugurate this season's First Wednesday Concert Series at St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, accompanied by Benjamin Hutto, organist and director of music ministry at the church.
Formed in 1956 to join the U.S. Army Band, the U.S. Army Chorus regularly sings with the National Symphony Orchestra on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and at other patriotic events, and performs for visiting heads of state.  Choristers speak more than 26 languages and dialects, and most hold advanced music degrees.

Their repertoire includes traditional military music, pop, Broadway, folk, and classical tunes. 

Also known as "Pershing's Own," the U.S. Army Chorus is one of the few professional male choruses in the nation, and it sings with symphonies and in concert halls across the U.S.

This year's concert series includes several firsts:  the first jazz concert (Feb. 4, 2015), first concert with bagpipes and organ (Mar. 4, 2015), and the first "complete works" (Jan. 7, 2015).
St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square/Photo by Patricia Leslie
St. John's, known to many Washington residents as the yellow church at Lafayette Square, is often called the “Church of the Presidents.” Beginning with President James Madison, who served from 1809 to 1817, every president has either been a member or has attended services at St. John's. A plaque at the rear of the church designates the pew where President Abraham Lincoln often sat when he stopped by St. John's during the Civil War.

All concerts will start at 12:10 p.m. (with an exception in April), and last about 35 minutes. Food trucks are located at Farragut Square, two blocks away, for those on lunch break.

Who: The U.S. Army Chorus

What: The First Wednesday Concerts

When: 12:10 p.m., October 1, 2014

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 (White House exit), Farragut North, or Farragut West

Food trucks: Located two blocks away at Farragut Square

For more information: Contact Michael Lodico, St. John's associate organist and choir director, at 202-270-6265

Future dates and artists of the First Wednesday Concerts are:

November 5: Greg Morris, associate organist at London's Temple Church, plays A London Portrait

December 3: Madrigal Singers from St. Albans & National Cathedral schools directed by organist Benjamin Hutto, sing seasonal music

January 7, 2015: Iris Lan plays the Complete Sonatas of Paul Hindemith on the organ

February 4: Lena Seikaly, jazz vocalist, with the Dan Dufford Trio performing works by Duke Ellington and friends

March 4: Jared Denhard, bagpiper, assisted by Michael Lodico, St. John's organist and choirmaster, performing Pipes and More Pipes

April 19 (Sunday), 4 p.m.: Spring Concert by St. John's Choir

May 6: The U.S. Air Force Strings accompanied by Benjamin Hutto performing a Handel organ concerto and other pieces

June 3: Benjamin Straley, organist at the Washington National Cathedral

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