Who knew that Washington loved organ music? The new Rubenstein Family Organ made its debut at The Kennedy Center tonight in a free 6 PM concert. The tickets were given out to those standing in line starting at 5 PM.
Given the poor attendance at most NSO concerts, I figured I could waltz in around 5:30 and get a ticket somewhere in the Concert Hall. But when I arrived at The Kennedy Center around 5:00, I realized I had totally miscalculated my chances.
For starters, the entire Kennedy Center garage was full, meaning the limited street parking was all that was left. As I drove by the front of The Kennedy Center I was dismayed to see the line snaking around the building.
I managed to find a parking spot about 4 blocks away and quickly walked over to The Kennedy Center to find the line even longer. It was about 20 minutes to performance time at this point. Soon thereafter a KC official told my part of the line we were at about 800 with only 300 tickets left to be distributed.
Instead of going home, I decided to go inside and see if I could find someone with an extra ticket. It turned out there were two guys with 4 tickets whose friends had not materialized. They were happy to give me one of the extra tickets, which turned out to be a box seat with a great sightline to the organ.
For the next hour or so, I enjoyed hearing the magnificent new organ show its stuff, accompanied by the NSO. It reminded me of my days playing the organ in my younger years. I’m always amazed when a single individual bequeathes something as expensive as a pipe organ!
But it is an instrument that will greatly enhance The Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall. Hopefully we will new see organ concerts that have never been the hallmark of this venue.
Perhaps my greatest coup was spending exactly $1.50 instead of the $22 standard parking fee. It was a cheap night filled with beautiful music.
(The photo above was not from the concert, but rather from the days preceding as the organ was installed and the 5,000 pipes voiced.)