Hill Rag Arts and Dining Special - Music

The Howard Theatre at 620 T St. NW first opened in 1910 in the area known as "Black Broadway." It provided a place where color barriers blurred and music unified. From 1980 to 2012, the theater sat vacant in what we now call the U Street District. After a $29 million renovation and a 32-year hiatus, the Howard Theatre is once again a hub of creativity and artistic expression in the modern world. It offers a dizzying array of performers, celebrations, gospel and comedy. They have become famous for their Sunday Gospel Brunch with a southern buffet and live music ($35, $45, day-of). thehowardtheatre.com


Every Sunday at 12:30 p.m. the National Cathedral's peal bells are rung for about a half hour by musicians pulling ropes attached to the bells. They are best appreciated from the Bishop's Garden just to the right of the Cathedral. Peal bell rehearsals are Tuesday evenings, 7-9 p.m. The 10-bell peal set was cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry of London in the 1960s and installed in 1963. The bells vary in weight from 608 to 3,588 pounds. Peal bells play mathematical patterns, not melodic music, because peal bells cannot play a rhythm. nationalcathedral.org


Here are some of the performers and performance groups coming up at the Birchmere, a legendary venue  in the music world: Judy Collins, Three Dog Night, Herb Alpert, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Herman's Hermits and Paula Poundstone. The Birchmere schedules a mix of old timers, country, jazz, folk and rock. It's just across the river in Alexandria. Your ticket pays for your seat and parking, but not your food and beverage. Go to their website, birchmere.com for featured artists over the fall season. 


The Kennedy Center Millennium Stage was created to make the performing arts accessible to everyone in fulfillment of the Kennedy Center's mission to the community and the nation. It is a free, live performance every night of the year at 6 p.m. in the Grand Hall, Concert Hall or Theater Lab. In the past 16 years, more than 3 million visitors have seen 6,000 groups perform jazz, ballet, storytelling, popular music, contemporary dance, opera, choral music, tap dance, theater, chamber music, symphonic music, puppetry, stand-up comedy, and cabaret. No tickets are required. Just show up. There's a free shuttle service from the Foggy Bottom Metro Station to the Kennedy Center every 15 minutes. Enjoy. kennedy-center.org


This season the Library of Congress presents five new works commissioned by the Library. Thursday, Oct. 30, George Lewis performed by Ensemble Dal Niente; Friday, Dec. 5, Jefferson Friedman/Chiara Quartet with Simone Dinnerstein; Friday, Jan. 23, John Adams/St. Lawrence String Quartet; Saturday, Mar. 7, Jennifer Higdon/Roberto Díaz and the Curtis Chamber Orchestra; and Friday, May 22, Kaija Saariaho/Jennifer Koh, Anssi Karttunen & Benjamin Hochman. All concerts are free but require tickets available from TicketMaster (there is a small service charge associated with each ticket order). There is a limit of two tickets per patron. 8 p.m. in the Coolidge Auditorium, Thomas Jefferson Building. loc.gov

Robin Trower appears at the Howard on Nov. 11. Photo: Courtesy of the Howard Theatre
The peal bells are best heard from the Bishops Garden, an oasis on the Cathedral grounds. Photo: Kathleen Donner
Robert Earl Keen appears at the Birchmere on Oct 20
See Gerdan on Oct. 24, 6 p.m. Photo: Courtesy of the Kennedy Center.
Ensemble Dal Niente performs on Oct. 30. Photo: Courtesy of the Library of Congress