Your Home for Great Music
For almost forty years Dumbarton Concerts has been a jewel in D.C.’s tiara; The Washington Post has described the series as one of the most intimate in Washington. Considered a well-kept secret by devoted music lovers, the candlelit sanctuary of historic Dumbarton United Methodist Church is the perfect setting in which to enjoy chamber music as its composer intended.
Founding Director Connie Zimmer headed to Washington D.C. in the late 1960s to engage in politics and change the world. After living here for several years, she longed for a welcoming place to experience live music, having missed her mother’s big-as-a-refrigerator record player and the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, where she first fell in love with live performance. Washington in the 1970s offered few venues for chamber music - an occasional Sunday afternoon concert at the Philips Collection and the Library of Congress, but little else.
Connie Zimmer had found her calling. With her friend and series co-founder Leah Johnson, she chanced upon the stunning acoustics of Dumbarton Church, where Abraham Lincoln had worshiped and Walt Whitman may have nursed wounded soldiers during the Civil War. This beautiful one hundred and fifty year old sacred space was the ideal venue. Connie and Leah pooled what little money they had to found Dumbarton Concerts, while friends and family pitched in to pay the musicians. They used J. Reilly Lewis’ (of the Bach Consort and Cathedral Choral Society) mimeograph machine to produce playbills on mornings of the concerts. There was no charge for admission the first year, but in the second they grew bolder and charged $2.50. With high hopes, Connie and Leah promoted their first two seasons, and now, season after season, world-class musicians return to perform unique programs of chamber music and jazz.
Dumbarton Concerts no longer relies on borrowed equipment and now owns a fine Steinway piano. But some things have hardly changed: the community of devoted patrons, the historic sanctuary of Dumbarton Church, friendly volunteers who welcome you at the door, and flickering candles that softly illuminate the musicians. The concert series is not exclusive and has never been stuffy, and it remains a welcoming place for music-lovers. Coming to Dumbarton Concerts evokes a wonderful feeling of comfort, warmth, friendship, and belonging. If you love chamber music and the feeling it gives you when it fills a room, and you with it, Dumbarton Concerts will feel like home. Maybe even better.
Dumbarton United Methodist Church
Dumbarton United Methodist Church has served the Georgetown community since 1720, which makes the congregation one of the oldest continuing Methodist congregations in the world. The sanctuary features beautiful stained glass windows installed from 1898-1900, an organ originally powered by a water engine, and Abraham Lincoln’s pew.
For more information on Dumbarton United Methodist Church and its congregation please visit http://www.dumbartonumc.org/