Hill Talk: Music Fills the Air at Eastern Market

Posted April 24, 2009 at 3:57pm

The Capitol Hill Community Foundation will kick off its third annual Eastern Market Music Series on Sunday. The series, which lasts until June 28 and then runs again from Sept. 6 to Oct. 11, features local musicians performing in front of Port City Java at Seventh Street and North Carolina Avenue Southeast.

Organizer Donna Fletcher said she tries to recruit high-quality local bands, especially those that have won Wammies — the local version of the Grammy Awards given by the Washington Area Music Association — and those with a Capitol Hill connection. Because of the space available, she looked for bands that have relatively few members and need little electricity.

Each Sunday, one group will play from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and another from 1 to 3 p.m. A wide range of musical genres will be represented, including jazz, country, gospel and the blues. Fletcher, who will perform with Archie’s Barbershop Jambassadors in September, said that about two-thirds of the groups booked for this summer have performed at Eastern Market before.

The series began in 2007 as a way of drawing people in at a time when vendors were losing business, following a fire that gutted significant parts of the market.

“I think the hope is basically to keep the market atmosphere alive,— Fletcher said. “A lot of people have said, Why didn’t somebody do this years ago?’—

A complete schedule is available at capitolhillcommunityfoundation.org.

Capital Challenge Race Is Wednesday

Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) hopes other Members will follow his lead in this year’s Capital Challenge on Wednesday morning.

The three-mile race requires each team of five runners to include at least one Member of Congress, the Cabinet, the vice president, sub-Cabinet agency head, federal judge or broadcast or print journalist, as well as at least one woman. The race benefits D.C. Special Olympics. Along with Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), Judge Stephen Swift and CBS News’ Bill Plante, Lugar is an honorary co-chairman for the event.

Lugar is the only team captain to have participated in the race every year since it began in 1981, according to organizer Jeff Darman. The race is in keeping with the Senator’s focus on fitness. Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher noted that Lugar began actively promoting exercise when he was mayor of Indianapolis in the late 1960s.

In the 2008 Capital Challenge, Lugar finished third among team captains over the age of 70, and his team, 27 Years & Running, finished first among Senate teams.

“We’re kind of the Yankees of the Senate division,— Fisher said.

Darman, who runs the sports marketing firm Darman & Associates in Kennett Square, Pa., founded the race as a way to gin up some good news out of Congress in the early 1980s. He said the legislative branch was “getting a fair amount of bad publicity for different things.—

This year, about 120 teams and about 700 runners, including nonscoring runners such as Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty who participate independent of a team, will start the run at Anacostia Park at 8 a.m. The route follows Anacostia Parkway almost all the way to the park headquarters entrance and then loops back, finishing near the beginning.

Individual prizes are awarded for the fastest runner, the first Senator, the first Congressman, the first Cabinet member, the first sub-Cabinet-level agency head, the first judge, the first print journalist, the first electronic journalist and the top four captains in the age groups 60-69 and 70 and over. The top two teams are recognized in the Senate, House, judicial, executive branch, print media and electronic media divisions. Finally, teams are also recognized for best team name, worst team name and best spirit.

Roll Call is among the sponsors of the competition, entering 12 runners with five scoring for each of two teams, News Travels Fast and Need for a Lede.