The Violins for Douglass Program is an annual event organized by FDMHA to promote youth interest in and mastery of violins.
Frederick Douglass excelled at many things, including playing the violin. While traveling in Ireland, he fell in love with Irish music, purchased a violin and taught himself to play. When his grandson Joseph showed interest in the instrument, Frederick Douglass was delighted and trained Joseph to become an accomplished concert violinist. Joseph performed twice at the White House and was the first black violinist to make recordings for the Victor Talking Machine Company.
The Violins for Douglass Program celebrates Frederick Douglass’ musical talent and aims to promote music talent, especially mastery of violins among the youth.
FDMHA partners with music schools and other institutions/organizations to identify young people with musical talent. FDMHA reaches out to such young people and also awards needs-based scholarships to deserving students enrolled in a school or music program in the greater Washington, DC area (Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia).
Violin Musical Petting Zoo
The Violin Musical Petting Zoo is a fun, informative and hands-on activity that enables young people to touch and play with the violin under close supervision. This activity was very popular with children who attended the 2014 event.
Professional violinists as well as up and coming talents entertain the audience with their mastery of the violin. In 2014, Bryce Nathaniel Purnell of the Purnell Music Studio delivered a performance and received a scholarship award of $1,000. The second scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to Joya Robinson of the PG County Philharmonic Kids Symphony.
Speeches and Lectures
Select speaker address the audience on topics relevant to the event. Speakers at the 2014 event included civil rights activist Rev Reginald Green (read bio here), Jennifer Payne (read bio here) and FDMHA President Moonyene Jackson (read her speech).
The inaugural Violins for Douglass Program was held August 9, 2014. For more information about the event, click here.
The 2015 Violins for Douglass Program was held October 11 in Washington, DC. Click here for details.
The 2016 Violins for Douglass Program will be held October 23 in Washington, DC. More information coming soon. To apply for the 2016 Violins for Douglass Scholarship, click here.