Renovating the Church of the Epiphany ($1.03)

The Church of the Epiphany is an Episcopal church located in the 1300 block of G Street NW, in Washington DC. It was built in the 1840s, is on the National Register of Historic Places, and sits in the middle of a block surrounded by much newer commercial structures in the heart of the nation’s capital.

I seem to attend the Church of the Epiphany as much as I attend the synagogue to which I belong, although I have never gone there for a religious service. I have, over the years, been a fairly-regular at the church’s Tuesday lunch time concerts.

I tend not to go on the first Tuesday of the month, when the concert consists of a Bach cantata, because that just isn’t my thing, although the Washington Bach Consort clearly does a fine job, as it works its way through the entire Bach cantata cycle. But on other Tuesdays, when Levine School faculty members, other Washington area musicians and groups, and occasional guests from elsewhere perform, I go whenever I have the chance.

Last week, for example, the orchestra of the Friday Morning Music Club, another old Washington classical music ensemble, performed a Telemann concerto for two flutes, and the Symphony No. 29 by an eighteen year old kid named Wolfgang A. Mozart. I enjoyed both pieces, although I thought that the balance between the two flutists and the orchestra was a bit off in the Telemann, so that the clearly beautiful flute playing was too often drowned out by the 30-something member, primarily string orchestra. The Mozart, on the other hand, came off wonderfully, with a rich and flawless sound. I must admit that I don’t know much about the orchestra itself – how often it performs, who its members are and how often they change, etc., but conductor Pablo Saelzer clearly knows what he is doing.

Yesterday’s Bach concert marked the end of the church’s classical Tuesday programs until sometime in the fall, because the church is undergoing some clearly needed renovations (the large, rather plain, arched plaster sanctuary is filled with cracks and with places where chunks of plaster have fallen. I trust, historically protected building that it is, that the renovations will be in keeping with the simple design and none of the plaques on the wall will be lost in the construction process.

How it is as a place of worship, I cannot say, although I can tell this is a very socially active congregation. What the size of the congregtion is, I don’t know. What I do know is that it provides a great public service with its concert series (concerts are free, with a donation box in the vestibule which is the source for any musicians’ pay), and I look forward to its resumption and continuation.


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