Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Washington Bach Consort: where D.C. can converge, Left, Right & "Indie"

Last Sunday saw the fifth installment of the Washington Bach Consort's 2012-2013 season, held at its usual venue, in the chapel at the National Presbyterian Church's Upper Northwest Washington perch on Nebraska Ave.

Seated on the aisle a few rows back, Orchestra Right, was retiring U.S. Sen. John D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV.  Rockefeller (D-WV).  Rockefeller is no stranger to these concerts, it seems, as a flip through the Consort's program reveals that Rockefeller is listed as an "Honorary Board Member" of the .org's Board of Directors.

No surprise there, as the fabulously wealthy Senator from an impoverished state has compiled a long track record of philanthropy in the arts.  The Senator and his spouse, Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO of the board at WETA, Washington's PBS affiliate, and are famous for throwing fundraising galas at their manse hugging Rock Creek Park.

Despite the decrying in the press of the partisan poison in the Capital's air, the Consort remains refuge from that and serves as comfortable crossroads where those from divergent D.C. social strata can come together and enjoy a common appreciation of classical music.

Yes, Rockefeller is married to the daughter of a former Republican U.S. Senator, but the late Charles H. Percy of Illinois was a Republican of a notoriously liberal stripe.  (FUN FACT: Sharon Percy Rockefeller's father was booted from the "World's Most Exclusive Club" the very same day that her husband was admitted.)

Sen. Percy would certainly be considered "notoriously" liberal by the only other name that jumped out from that Board of Directors: L. Brent Bozell III.

Bozell, a conservative movement scion (Buckley in-law, his father labored in the trenches of the Goldwater insurgency), has compiled his own track record over the years as a social conservative, traditionalist and culture critic.

Bach seems to pass the Cultural taste test with Bozell, who has carried on his late mother's support for the Consort.  But would a of the side projects of a musician onstage that afternoon arch Bozell's brow?

In the orchestra, the program listed Amy Domingues as "principal" of the viola de gamba section.   Domingues has been dubbed by Washington CityPaper to be the "No. 1 cellist-for-hire in D.C.’s indie-rock scene."

The now walking cane-reliant Rockefeller isn't running for re-election next cycle, the first time Republican strategists have openly salivated over taking on the billionaire senator since West Virginia's post-2000 reddening started to set in.  Sitting in that chapel, it wasn't difficult to take the mind frame of an ambitious, mischievous GOP strategist, dreaming up attack ads mocking a billionaire long-term incumbent named Rockefeller nodding along to a viola solo from an indie rock figure at a fancy Bach concerto for being "out of touch with West Virginia values."