Music on the Metro

When I first moved to San Francisco years ago, one of the pleasant surprises was all the great music they had in the subway stations. The SF City Council actually licensed musicians to play in the stations. It was like a little free concert everywhere you went. When I came to Washington, the Metro seemed silent and drab. I always chalked that up to DC being a more “serious” city than SF. But it seems that the powers that be have finally decided that DC can afford a little underground entertainment. Yes, Metro is holding auditions for musicians to play in stations! It hasn’t been determined which stations yet, but so far they’ll all be in DC. Arlington (who just approved a $1 billion+ budget btw) claims they just don’t have the money for it.

Musicians will get paid $200 a performance (plus tips I suppose), and Metro hoping to get them started by mid-summer. If you are interested, The DC Arts Commission will hold auditions from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, at Metro headquarters, 600 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC. Individuals and groups interested in auditioning for the program should bring a photograph and a one-page biography or resume. Auditions are first-come, first-served. For more information, check out the Metro Performs! website.

But a word to all those aspiring musicians out there, considering that a few weeks ago, there was a story in the Post about how world famous violinist Joshua Bell played for an hour at a Metro station and no one noticed, I wouldn’t get my hopes up that a gig at Metro Center is going to lead to your big break.

1 Comment so far

  1. Hy Hy (unregistered) on May 7th, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

    Actually, part of the protocol is that performers are not allowed to receive tips if they are commissioned. I have mixed feelings about this program, but it just might guarantee two things: 1. a busker will know that he’s certain to make $200 instead of a bucket of change, and 2. the audition process will select against crappy musicians droning on at the selected stations. Then again, it probably has an equal chance of selecting against those talented buskers who are too casual about it to bother with the bureaucratic process.

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