What’s a wonderful way to spend a summer afternoon? There are many. Last summer, IF, in partnership with Culture Saves, IONA, the D.C. Public Libraries, and the D.C. Department of Aging and Community Living, invited Washington residents to a series of four events featuring beautiful music, delicious food, and stimulating conversations.
We met at the West End Neighborhood Library, the Tenley/Friendship Neighborhood Library, the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library, and the Georgetown Neighborhood Library. The first three have recently been rebuilt, but all of them are stunningly beautiful spaces bustling with community events and activities. As one participant said “gone are the days when public libraries were only about the books.”
The music part of each event was an exciting and intimate treat. Each time we listened to a different music program performed by different musicians. For the sake of brevity, let me mention just two. One program featured Musalliance—a string duo consisting of Peter Omelchenko on dorma (Russian mandolin) and Anna Kusner on guitar—who offered virtuoso interpretations of classical, international, and folk favorites. Another offered modern compositions for flute and harp beautifully played by Adria Sternstein Foster on flute and Susan Robinson on harp. Each program also had an educational component. Michelle Kim, founder of Culture Saves and a violinist at the Kennedy Center, introduced the musical program and commented about individual pieces. We also engaged with musicians directly in a short Q&A.
The music program was followed by small group conversations led by IF facilitators. About 200 people participated in these discussions. Yet we kept the IF spirit of intimate and thoughtful small group conversations. Each group had lunch together while talking about issues concerning our society. The overarching theme for this series was things that shape our towns and cities. Yet each event focused on different aspects of it, such as transportation and mobility, arts and society, human migration, and the future of our towns and cities. We explored many contrasting ideas and possibilities.
Now we are in the mist of Fall Concert, Conversation, and Lunch Series. Stay tuned for the new series coming up in 2020!