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At a time when the nation is hurting and divided over racial, gender, and economic issues, the Church at Clarendon is offering a multi-ethnic evening concert and gathering Sunday November 11. The GoGo Symphony, an apt multi-ethnic orchestra which fuses Washington DC’s go-go music with classical, will provide the interactive entertainment.
The event, titled “Becoming Better Together,” is the church’s unique way of celebrating the first pastoral anniversary of Rev. Danielle L. Bridgeforth, its first African American and woman pastor. The Church at Clarendon, formerly the First Baptist Church of Clarendon, was founded in 1909 by a predominantly white congregation. Today, the church is deliberately multi-ethnic and multi-generational, with a membership coming from diverse socio-economic levels and denominational backgrounds. In 2017, the church called “Pastor Danielle” to be its Senior Pastor. Theologically trained, she is a unifying and energetic figure who is welcoming and engaging.
“I hope this celebration will draw people of all kinds of ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds, ages, etc. together in face of our divisive political climate. I have that hope for our worship services in general, but I hope that such a celebration will draw people that we haven’t reached before,” said long time church member Ellen Bartlett. “Pastor Danielle is the first woman pastor – that in itself is historically significant and an indication of a broadening of the church’s scriptural understanding of the role of women over the years… That she is African-American is, of course, significant as a recognition of the diversity of our congregation, very different from what it was back in ‘early days,’ though we had Vietnamese and Hispanic adjunct congregations years ago.”
“This church is amazing because I can meet so many different kinds of people right here in my neighborhood,” said Liza Figueroa Kravinsky, a church going resident of nearby Lyon Village. “I hope more of my neighbors would consider taking advantage of this opportunity, if only during this event.”
Pastor Bridgeforth said, “This celebration is not just about me. More than that, it’s about honoring what God is doing in our church and community. It’s an opportunity for us to affirm that we are stronger and healthier when we remove barriers and learn to worship, work, and witness together. This is how it will look in Heaven, we might as well get used to it now.”
The “Being Better Together” concert will take place at the Church at Clarendon, 1210 North Highland Street, Arlington VA 22201, on Sunday November 11 at 5 pm. It is free and open to everyone in the community. Enter via the side lobby on Highland Street. For more information, visit 1bc.org.
The GoGo Symphony is inviting audience members to be part of its official music video and live recording October 27 in Washington DC.
“The audience members will be key to the success of the video and recording, so we want them to look good and party hard. But come early if you want to be in the video. We start filming at 7 pm,” said GoGo Symphony founder, composer, and conductor Liza Figueroa Kravinsky.
Legendary GoGo band Trouble Funk with special guest Sugar Bear will end the evening as the headliner. Comedian Chris Thomas will be hosting the event as well as performing a stand up comedy act.
The critically acclaimed GoGo Symphony mixes a classical orchestra over Washington DC’s iconic gogo beats, creating symphonies people can dance and party to. It has sold out shows in the past with its rowdy atmosphere.
Renowned classical music critic and expert Greg Sandow has called the Go-Go Symphony “Maverick” in the classical world. He wrote, “What I love is the project itself. And especially the way that it doesn’t simply combine pop and classical music — that’s been done quite a lot — but also brings together pop and classical musicians. And in a long-term collaboration, not just as a one-shot, like Grizzly Bear playing with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, or Elvis Costello creating The Juliet Letters with the Brodsky Quartet…All these things are rare, if not unique. And they give the project a kind of street energy not always found in pop/classical collaborations.”
On the other side, Kato Hammond, author of the top go-go music news website “Take Me Out to the Go-Go,” predicts this project will bring go-go music to a wider audience. He feels this project will be a “big deal” in the go-go world.
The show will launch the GoGo Symphony’s two new singles being released in the fall, coinciding with an October 19 TV appearance on WUSA9’s “Get Up DC” and local radio play.
The video shoots starts at 7 pm, Saturday October 27, 2018 at the Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW, Washington DC (the wharf). Come early if you want to be in the video! For tickets, visit TICKETS.
On January 13, 2017, the Go-Go Symphony will perform the world premiere of “JuJu Symphony” and “Down With You,” two pieces that mark the first ever collaboration between a go-go music celebrity and classical composers.
Juju House (aka Juju), drummer of famed go-go band Experience Unlimited (EU), collaborated with other Go-Go Symphony composers Liza Figueroa Kravinsky, Joshua Cruse, and Andrew Velez to produce these two powerful dance pieces.
“When Juju said he wanted to join the Go-Go Symphony ensemble, I just about fainted,” says Kravinsky, “He’s famous and successful. I couldn’t believe he wanted to work from scratch with us.”
She may have been intimidated by the fact that Juju has also played for Grace Jones (“Slave To The Rhythm”), Chaka Khan, Chuck Brown, and Dionne Farris. However, the Go-Go Symphony already has a budding reputation from its critically acclaimed sell out performances at the Atlas Performing Arts Center and other venues.
JuJu explains, “This is something of taking go-go and being able to broaden it into different elements, but still using my own flavor. That’s what it’s always been about. Being able to blend and properly deliver all the colors together.”
“Collaborating with Juju on a symphony has been quite eye opening,” explains Liza. “I’m learning a lot about rhythm and other things that classical musicians don’t normally think about. Go-Go has a lot to offer the to the classical world.”
Influential classical music blogger and critic Greg Sandow continues to sing praises of the Go-Go Symphony, challenging the Kennedy Center to put their show on their stage. Sandow blogs about the future of classical music, and often writes about the Go-Go Symphony as an example of how to revitalize the troubled classical music scene.
Read his blog here:
Here are some other blogs about the Go-Go Symphony by Greg Sandow and guest blogger Liza Figueroa Kravinsky:
The Go-Go Symphony had the honor of performing for the Radio Television Congressional Correspondents Dinner on June 12, 2014. A celebration between members of the United States Congress and the radio and television news media, the event featured celebrity Nick Offerman and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough.
Sharing the stage was guest MC Head-Roc, “the Mayor of DC Hiphop” and go-go beat ya feet dance group “Da Originalz.”
The Go-Go Symphony has been quite visible in the press recently.
Highlights include coverage by the Washington Post, Washington Informer, and On Tap magazine.
Here are some highlighted quotes from the coverage:
“The buzz is exciting, and I’m also hearing about word of mouth spreading about us. We’re very excited,” said Go-Go Symphony founder Liza Figueroa Kravinsky.
Says Washington Post
The Capital City Symphony, along with members of the Go-Go Symphony ensemble, performed the first ever fully orchestrated Go-Go Symphony and received a standing ovation, three curtain calls, and rave reviews.
The Go-Go Symphony “definitely cranked” when they opened for the legendary go-go band Trouble Funk at the 9:30 Club on January 17, 2014, wrote a major go-go blog DC Brand 99 in Jan. 18 article “Trouble Funk: The Timeless Treasure.”
This was the first positive review received by the Go-Go Symphony. “I’m totally thrilled,” said composer/founder Liza Figueroa Kravinsky, “We’re getting posted on Facebook and Instagram from some of the celebrities that performed with us. Nothing like genuine buzz.”
The performance also resulted in a Washington City Paper interview of Kravinsky. A commenter on the article who was at the show said he/she was “blown away.”
The event was a video release party for Trouble Funk’s new single “Hump Day.” Go-go bands Be’la Dona and Sugar Bear of EU will also perform that night. Guest stars include White Boy and James Funk of Rare Essence, Buggs of Junk Yard, and Big G of Backyard Band.
Doors open at 9 pm at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW, Washington DC. Tickets are $20.
The Go-Go Symphony threw a great party at the National Mall on June 30. Here is what audience member Carol Young had to say about the show:
“So, here’s what I observed — kids were sad to leave the concert when their parents pulled them away and kids dragged their parents from the museums to listen to the music. You quintupled (5X) the number of people from start to finish. People listened as they walked to from museums along the venue — i.e. they danced, bounced their heads, tapped/clapped their hands, or they danced/walked as it were.”
“About the music, I most enjoyed your pieces the “alright we’re going to try something new school” sounded really interesting — sometimes Latin, Middle Eastern, then like a band – it was intriguing in a cool way not weird, this is NOT really music way. Your music told a story – took us to some new places, got us excited and interested in go go and symphony music. Your leading with the violin was super duper cool. Overall it was breath taking — like, WOW, you’re doing your art and it’s making a difference in SO many peoples’ lives right in the nation’s capital. I wanted to hear even more of the juxtaposition of the orchestral music and a plug for the jam sessions at Dupont Circle.”