Monday, September 03, 2012

Act of Congress in the City upon the Hill

I returned from New York last week for two reasons.  First, my sublet was up and I needed to vacate.  Second, because the first tour of the American Music Abroad program was kicking off.  As part of the AMA @Home section of the tour, we brought the band Act of Congress to DC for their orientation, and to do a lil performing in the nation's capital.

Act of Congress is an acoustic rock band from Birmingham, who have a real big following down south.  They came to DC for their orientation at State, and got to tour around the city a bit.  They had not really been to DC before, maybe one or two had been on school field trips in 8th grade or so.  We had fun showing them the Air and Space Museum, and the various monuments.  Of course, a requisite picture at Congress.

Act of Congress also did an interview with Voice of America on the music show Border Crossings.  The normal host was out, so Katherine Cole of Roots and Branches had them on to talk about the the AMA program and the upcoming tour to Thailand, the Philippines, Palau and East Timor.  Their easygoing style really won over the VOA staff and host.  A big thanks to Rick Barnes of VOA, who worked with me to get them and future AMA groups on VOA.  Good public diplomacy comes from good partnerships and good collaboration.

AOC also did a school program at the College Gardens Elementary School in Rockville.  The kids loved them, and it was fun watching them interact with the elementary school kids.  They are going to connect with the kiddies from the road via skype and also come back to perform once they return to share stories from the road.

Act of Congress is going to have a great tour in Southeast Asia.  Their acoustic style and energy will connect well in Thailand and the Philippines (I imagine Palau and East Timor too, but I haven't been there).  I could see them being crowned karoke kings in the ever-singing Philippines (just don't sing "My Way," I warned).  This is really the fun part of my job, and what it is ultimately all about: connecting people through music.

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