Where to Watch the National Symphony Orchestra for Free This Weekend

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NSO members will perform free, public concerts in various spots

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The National Symphony Orchestra’s violins and cellos at a performance in January 2015.Photo by Scott Suchman

The National Symphony Orchestra will continue its free concert series “In Your Neighborhood” this weekend in DC’s Ward 5. The program, which began in 2010, was created to bring the NSO into DC communities that have been historically excluded from the arts, NSO’s community engagement manager Xavier Joseph says. “We have many different areas of Washington, DC, different wards that may not have the opportunity to be introduced to classical music, whether that be in school or at church or other communities. [The NSO] has really been able to go in and celebrate these communities through music.”

The series seeks out unpretentious venues so people can comfortably immerse themselves in music. Here’s a look at this weekend’s offerings:

Friday, March 10 

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception 

400 Michigan Ave., NE

The full National Symphony Orchestra will perform a concert with more than 90 musicians under conductor​​ Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser. Dedicated to frontline workers of the Covid pandemic, this performance will feature composer Valerie Coleman’s “7 O’Clock Shout,” which refers to how people would often stand on their porches in the evening and clap to show their respect for workers during the height of the pandemic. 

Time: 7 PM

Saturday, March 11

Bluebird Sky Yoga

3101 12 St., NE

Peter Cain (clarinet) and Sara Matayoshi (violin) will perform during a yoga class. Attendees will also be given the chance to donate to N Street Village, a non-profit that supports local women struggling with housing. Register here

Time: 12 PM

Busboys and Poets Brookland

625 Monroe St., NE

A brass quintet consisting of Billy Gerlach (principal trumpet), Joshua Kauffman (trumpet), James Nickel (horn), David Murray (trombone), and Seth Cook (tuba) will perform at the restaurant in collaboration with a local poet. 

Time: 12 PM

Spice Suite

2201 Channing St., NE

Violinists Meredith Riley and Ben Scott will play at the local spice and herb shop in Langdon. 

Time: 1 PM

Norooz Market American Poetry Museum 

716 Monroe St., NE #25

The spring market with local vendors, artists, food, and live music will feature another performance by the above-mentioned brass quintet. 

Time: 2 PM

Turkey Thicket Recreation Center

1100 Michigan Ave., NE

NSO youth fellows Haley Gruwell (flute), Mira Kim (clarinet), and Christian León (horn) will perform during a pre-concert community gathering. Ward 5 Mutual Aid will provide groceries; the NSO and Wells Fargo will offer free swag bags, popcorn, and books; and Stephanie Kiah will host a mandala art making workshop. 

Time: 5:30 PM

The full National Symphony Orchestra will then perform, helmed by conductor Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser. The String Queens, an orchestral trio, will also appear.  

Time: 7 PM

Sunday, March 12 

La Cosecha

1280 4 St., NE

Alejandra Anzola (violin) and Veronica Anzola (violin), students from the Washington Musical Pathways Initiative, will partner with NSO musicians James Nickel (horn) and Bob Rearden (horn) for a lunchtime concert of Venezuelan music. 

Time: 12 PM

4th St. Friendship Church

1611 4 St., NW

Lisa Emenheiser (piano), Rachel Young (cello), and Paul Cigan (clarinet) will perform an in-person and livestreamed performance at the church. 

American Poetry Museum

 716 Monroe St., NE, #25

Natasha Bogachek (violin) and Zino Bogachek (violin) of the NSO and Opera House Orchestra will collaborate with two local poets during this afternoon performance. Kenji Yokote (keyboard) of the Washington Musical Pathways Initiative will end the show with a jazz performance. 

Time: 3 PM

Art Enables

2204 Rhode Island Ave., NE

Art Enables is a local art gallery that works to support artists with disabilities to create and promote their work. Natasha Bogachek (violin) and Zino Bogachek (violin) will play original compositions for the occasion that were designed specifically for Art Enables’ “Spectral Dance Party” exhibit. 

Time: 5 PM

Monday, March 13

Arts Compound

3698 Wells Ave., Mt. Rainer

NSO musicians Ben Scott (violin), Carole Evans (violin), Lauren Ellis (viola), and Mark Evans (cello) will play in collaboration with a local artist at this gallery space. 

Time: 6:30 PM

Tory Basile

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