Bethesda Summer Music Festival to showcase young D.C. talent

The Bethesda Summer Music Festival begins Monday, June 24 and ends Sunday, July 7. All performances will be held at the Bethesda Presbyterian Church. (Courtesy of Mira Yang)
Bethesda Presbyterian Church and the community of Bethesda, Md. are both places for healing, according to Rev. Charles Booker. "A lot of times churches are hesitant to support music festivals or larger arts projects," he says. "And our vision is very much a place of healing … one of those aspects of wholeness or healing is to see where the aesthetic and the ethic emerge and there's so much meaning that can come … from the aesthetic being appreciated." (WTOP/Natalie Tomlin)
Sophomore twins from Walt Whitman High School Bryan and Lauren Eng (second and third from right) are excited to return to the Bethesda Music Festival after participating last year. "As a student you don't often get opportunities to work with older people," Bryan says. "This program specifically is unique to other [young artist programs]." (WTOP/Natalie Tomlin)
All performances will be held at Bethesda Presbyterian Church,7611 Clarendon Rd., located one block from the corner of Old Georgetown Road and Wilson Lane, neighboring the Bethesda Elementary School.(WTOP/Natalie Tomlin)
This will be Mira Yang's 11th year directing the Bethesda Summer Music Festival. "We are whole as an entire group regardless of age differences," she says. "We all work together and it is a learning process and it is one big happy family at the end. [The festival] always works out because music speaks for itself." (Courtesy of Mira Yang)

Natalie Tomlin, special to

WASHINGTON – This summer marks the 11th season of the Bethesda Summer Music Festival, a two-week intensive workshop for young vocal professionals and high school and college students.

George Mason University Professor of voice and Artistic Director of the festival Mira Yang created the program in 2002 to share her love of music with students and the community. The Bethesda Summer Music Festival allows local artists to gain experience and learn from older vocalists without having to travel far from home to attend this type of program.

“They can learn behind the scenes what it really takes to put a production together,” Yang says. “Some children, especially little ones, come through our program very shy, not willing to speak up. But once they go through this process they are the first ones to raise their hands.”

After auditioning this past spring, Maddy Paulson, who will be attending the University of Maryland in the fall, is returning for a second summer at the festival. She will join about 60 others in the festival’s two-week run.

“It’s always wonderful to have the opportunity to perform

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