Sig Cohen
Photo by Theadocia Austen
Interview with:   Parker Jayne
Interview Date:   May 9, 2012
Interviewer:   Katy June-Friesen
Transcriber:   Betsy Barnett
    This interview transcript is the property of the Ruth Ann Overbeck Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.


JUNE-FRIESEN: This should be good. Okay. Well, this is Katy June-Friesen and I'm interviewing Parker Jayne on May 19, 2012. We are at 308 . . .

JAYNE: Actually May 9th, I think.

JUNE-FRIESEN: May 9th? What did I just say?

JAYNE: 19, I think.

JUNE-FRIESEN: May 9, 2012. Thank you. We are at 308 East Capitol. And this is for the Capitol Hill History Project. And I also want to note that Parker received a Community Achievement Award from the Capitol Hill Community Foundation in 2004, but he was not interviewed at that time, as most awardees are. So, perhaps, this can serve that purpose, too.

So, well, Parker, my first question is just tell me a little bit about where you were born and where you grew up.

JAYNE: Hi, Katy. Thanks for doing this. It's nice to sit down and talk to you about this. I was born in Wellesley, Massachusetts, in 1947. On my mother's side, she was born there, too, and both of her parents were born there and both of their parents, all of their parents were born in Wellesley too. So, that's been pretty much home. And went through school there until the tenth grade, went away in tenth grade to Exeter in New Hampshire for high school. And, then, after that went to Harvard and at Harvard majored in Russian language but also, because my dad had been in the Navy during World War II and was interested, and believed in volunteer service, I discovered when I got to college that he had signed me up for R.O.T.C. [Reserve Officers' Training Corps] [interviewer laughs], Navy R.O.T.C. He was in the Navy.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Without your knowledge. [interviewer continues laughing]

JAYNE: Well, I can't -- he probably talked about it, but maybe I forgot. At any rate, it was fine. And so I was a four-year, non-scholarship R.O.T.C. person, which was interesting. This was in the 60s and Viet Nam was going on . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Yeah, yeah.

JAYNE: And so forth. So that, by the end, being in Navy R.O.T.C. -- it was the last year before they quit doing it -- but we had to drill. The captain, our commanding officer, told us to all grow beards and moustaches and pretend -- don't wear uniforms or anything like that and so that's . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Look like the long hairs?

JAYNE: Yeah. Try to fit in.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And what year was this? So that would have been what year?

JAYNE: So, I graduated in 1969.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Okay. So, right in the thick of it.

JAYNE: So, it was right in the thick of it. So, then I did three years active duty in the Navy after graduating on a ship in Norfolk. In a destroyer. Sailing is one of my passions, so I was excited about being on a surface ship, being on a destroyer. And the executive officer, who is usually the navigator on Navy ships, didn't want to do that. We had an extra officer so he just wanted -- he did some other things and I became the navigator on the ship, which was really exciting stuff.


JAYNE: At the end of my Navy career -- well, then I went to language school in Russian at DLI [Defense Language Institute] in Monterey [California] and then ended up at National Security Agency, NSA, at Fort Meade.


JAYNE: And I had got an early out -- I'd done three years and in 1972 they were cutting back on reserve officers at the end of the war. So, I was free. And I got out of the Navy there. Hadn't done any politics. I'd avoided politics during college and so forth. But, the campaign was going on in 1972 in Washington and I had saved up some extra money and thought it would be fun. So, I stuck around Washington in 1972 . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: And, for the record, this is which campaign?

JAYNE: For the record, this is the Nixon campaign.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, okay. [interviewer laughs]

JAYNE: I'd grown up as a Massachusetts Republican.


JAYNE: And, so, that seemed to be the thing to do. And there are some funny stories about what happened. But, I actually ended getting hired -- my first job out of the Navy, ended up being hired on the speechwriting staff at the White House.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Really. Wow.

JAYNE: For which I was there for three month or so during the . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Three months?

JAYNE: Yeah. For the campaign and then three months after the campaign. So, that was sort of a funny, kind of funny thing.

JUNE-FRIESEN: How many speeches did you write?

JAYNE: I wrote one speech, for Mrs. Nixon.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Do you remember what it was about?

JAYNE: I don't. [interviewer laughs] It was mostly just talking points, I think.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: But, I don't know. It's all sort of, kind of funny. The woman that I had dated in college, my senior year in college, came to Washington to work for Senator [Edward] Brooke, also from Massachusetts, who was a -- this was his second term. And she came down. And we had stayed in touch during the Navy and so forth, but got back together when she came to Washington and I was here, and so forth. Senator Brooke was very much of a stickler for people being at work on time, and my girlfriend then and wife, became my wife, Mary, knew that she was not good at getting up and being places and so forth. So, it was very important that she locate close to the Senate office buildings.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: So, she ended up buying -- we looked at this together. We ended up buying -- she ended up buying a house as close to the Senate as she could, which was at 325 Maryland Avenue NE on Capitol Hill. And, so, that's how I got to Capitol Hill.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And she bought this house.

JAYNE: She bought this house.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Do you recall about what the price was?

JAYNE: The price was about $35,000.


JAYNE: Roughly. So, this was in 1972.


JAYNE: And, then, we got engaged in 1973 and were married in October of 1973. And just at that time I had gotten into Harvard Business School so we moved back to Boston. And, then, we were in Boston for '73, graduated in '75, did a trip, sort of a post-, kind of a delayed honeymoon. And, then, finally came back to Washington to live full time in 1976. We'd had the house and came down here in summers, during summer breaks and so forth. And I remember very vividly in 1973, I guess it was, when, during the Nixon impeachment or the Nixon hearings and all that sort of stuff, being out front and hearing people talking to people, going by on the street. Sort of talking to people about the events that were kind of unfolding.


JAYNE: And so forth. At any rate, so, we came to Capitol Hill for good in January of 1976.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Why did you decide to -- aside from having this house that you already owned, what made you want to come back here?

JAYNE: We, both of us wanted to come back to Washington. My dad had worked, after World War II, had been one of the early people to work for the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency]. He had been on mainland China during the war and was there at the end of the war in Navy intelligence. And, then, was recruited to work for the CIA and had worked CIA for his career from 1946 or '47, whenever, until he retired in 1972. And so he had a strong ethic about public service. And it's one that I shared. So, even going to business school and coming out of business school, I knew that I wanted to come back to Washington and I wanted to work in the federal government.


JAYNE: There was one place -- there were only a couple of places to come to in Washington then if you were a business school person, trained. One of them was then the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, HEW, which is at the foot of the Hill. They'd just moved into the new building, which is now an old building, but the new building at the foot, on the House [of Representatives] side of the Hill, which is now the HHS [Health and Human Services] building. And that was the headquarters. So, that's where I got a job -- started there in 1976. And, so, my first sort of work experience was leaving 325 Maryland Avenue in the morning, walking down, walking across the Capitol grounds, down to HEW. It couldn't have been more pleasant. It was a short walk and it was . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Nice commute. [interviewer laughs]

JAYNE: Nice commute. Yeah. It was really, it was a beautiful time.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And, so, then you were living at . . .

JAYNE: Well, we were at 325 Maryland Avenue until 1980. Basically what happened was we had two kids. Out son Toby was born in April of 1976 and our daughter Alice was born in September of 1979. And 325 Maryland is a pretty small, two-bedroom kind of wood frame house. It's quite old, I think. It was wood frame. I think there was probably some kind of store in the basement at some point early on.

JUNE-FRIESEN: What made you think that?

JAYNE: Well, just the way the architecture worked.


JAYNE: It was a little hard to tell because it did then and still does have a fake brick front, but it's a wood frame -- you could tell anywhere else -- house and so. I was trying to remember what the basement sort of looked like. We refinished it at one point so I can't -- my memory is unclear about what it looked like actually when we bought it. But . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: It was some sort of business there at one point.

JAYNE: But, I think it was. Yeah, yeah. It felt like that. So both kids -- and both kids actually were born in the house. This was back in the day when midwives were just beginning.


JAYNE: And in Toby's case you still had to have a doctor present.


JAYNE: So. And, I think -- my recollection was that there was one doctor who was . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Willing to do this?

JAYNE: . . . willing to do this. And, Dr. Brew, B-R-E-W. So, he came. But there was a nurse-midwife as well. And so she did most of the attending. And then he came and he looked at Mary and said "You're going to have a baby." And, then, I made him breakfast. [interviewer laughs] And, then, we waited. And then he finally just looked at his watch and said, "I think it's time to get going here." Anyway. And then with Alice, I think the laws had changed by then and you didn't need a doctor attending. So, Alice was born just with a nurse-midwife. And both of those worked out well. So, whenever I look at that house when I walk past, which is often, it's nice to remember that both kids were born there.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Yes, definitely.

JAYNE: Toby was born in the basement and Alice was born in one of the second story bedrooms, upstairs. So.

JUNE-FRIESEN: A special house.

JAYNE: Yeah, yeah. It is. Yeah, it is. But, it was a nice -- when we moved in there Washington was -- or Capitol Hill -- everything is always in a transition period, I mean. So, in that time, the big transition was that all of the houses across the street from us on the 300 block of Maryland, so this is on the north side of Maryland Avenue . . . there's an entire row of quite large three-story buildings.


JAYNE: Probably 12 of them, ten or 12, it's quite a few. They had all been in the trust together and were all just coming out of the trust together. And, I think people bought into the trust and then got a house out of that. I'm not sure exactly how the finances of that worked exactly. So, people were just moving in sort of to that time and were renovating those houses and bringing them back on line. They had been vacant for quite a long period and when we moved into there, they were being occupied by squatters.


JAYNE: And so there was a period when people were shooting out the streetlights . . .


JAYNE: . . . from the buildings and stuff and that was -- but that was sort of an early period and it ended pretty quickly. But . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: And then how would you describe who moved in the houses?

JAYNE: Oh, they were all . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Young families?

JAYNE: . . . young families and friends. Yeah. And we've stayed in touch with, you know, some of the families that we've known from there. I run into Dick Morgenstern from time to time. He and Devra Davis moved across the street and had kids roughly our kids' age.


JAYNE: Next door to us at 325, well, next door to the right, to the east, was Claudia Strawn, S-T-R-A-W-N, an older woman. She was from Texas and she was a real character. She had art everywhere in her house, stacked up paintings on the floor, stacked up. And had been a teacher. And took a real liking to our kids. And, so, I have wonderful sort of mental images of Claudia sitting on the front stoop of her house, probably at the age of mid-70s, and Toby at the age of three or something and Claudia reading to him. It was very nice. Sam Schoenbaum lived four or five houses down in sort of a carriage house thing further east in the 300 block. And we didn't know him very well, but he was one of the scholars, Shakespeare scholars, at the Folger Shakespeare Library. And, so, we all gave great deference to him because he was apparently very well known, and so forth. So, we were in that house really until 1980 when the kids showed no signs of getting any smaller [interviewer laughs] and we were really beginning to kind of break out of it. And then one day I walked up to Lincoln Park to take a present, it was a birthday present or a wedding present or something, to a friend. And walked past this house on 12th Street and there was a sign out front that said "For Sale by Owner," and I looked at it and I thought well that's interesting. And then contacted the guy and that became our house sort of later on in 1980. Mary was sad to leave the 325 house because she had found it. It had been hers.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: And she loved it. And we made this joke that she would only sell it to a Massachusetts Republican, assuming that that's impossible to find.

JUNE-FRIESEN: But, it is Washington.

JAYNE: But, what happened was, we sent, in 1980, sent letters to all incoming Senators. She went down and got the addresses of these and found the addresses of all the incoming Senators and all the incoming new Representatives from California, because they were the only ones who were not going to faint from the price from Washington real estate. So we had -- the two people who came through that I remember, one was Arlen Spector, who was new at that time. He came through and he wasn't interested. But the other person who came through was the new Senator from the state of Washington, Slade Gorton. And, of course, Slade Gorton is from the Gorton family of Massachusetts that does seafood.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Seafood? Oh, okay.

JAYNE: From, I think, Gloucester. And so, and was a Republican. And, so, there was the Massachusetts Republican and Slade Gorton bought the house. [interviewer laughs] So, that became the thing.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And, at that point, the price had really risen since when you bought the house.

JAYNE: It had, it had.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Had things changed around there?

JAYNE: I think we sold it for about $185,000. I think. About that, in 1980. It was a tough period then for real estate. I mean interest rates were at 12 or so forth. And the guy that I bought 100 12th Street from had already bought his downsize house, but was having trouble selling this house. And that became a real difficult issue for him. And I remember that period being difficult, a financial difficult. And we made it work just through some creative stuff that he and I thought up about how to kind of make it work for both of us.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And do you remember, when you bought the house near Lincoln Park, how would you describe the neighborhood? Were there a lot of people living there that had been for a long time? Or were they moving out now? Or . . .

JAYNE: No, it was still -- I think of it as being very stable. At the time I think people thought of it as being kind of on the outskirts of Capitol Hill.


JAYNE: Or at least it had that reputation. But, we'd been on the Hill for eight years already and it didn't feel that way particularly to us. There were a lot of old time residents there. Peter Glickert and his wife Betty were there, had been there for a number of years. A lot of people on the block had been there for a while. So, it didn't feel to us, you know, like anything particularly unusual or anything. But, one thing about that house I discovered later -- and this was from reading one of the interviews from the Overbeck History Project. And it was an interview with Milton Sladen, who was a resident, born on the Hill, and had moved, in 1907, had moved to 11th Street, which was one street over from us. And, I actually, I remember talking -- it wasn't in the interview that I read -- but I actually do remember meeting him and talking to him once. And this is at that period, unless I'm confused, I think. But, he said that he remembers 100 12th Street being built. He would have been -- the house was built in 1910 so he would have been ten years old. So, it's possible that he remembered. And I knew that it was -- I think it was the last house, he said, built on that block and it had been built by a real estate, by somebody who developed real estate. And they'd saved that lot for him to build it. So, that was -- I remembered that. But, what I learned from the interview, which was interesting in the Overbeck History Project was that that house had been the boyhood home of a boy who grew up to become a famous Medal of Honor winner in World War II who was a submarine captain, became rear admiral, named Gene Fluckey, F-L-U-C-K-E-Y. And I didn't read the interview until 2003 or 2004 or something like that. It was later. The interview with Sladen had been done in . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: In the 70s.

JAYNE: . . . the 1970s. And, so, it was possible, all that time. But, I got very excited about this and researched where I could find Admiral Fluckey and was he still alive and found he was and he was living in Annapolis.

JUNE-FRIESEN: In Annapolis . . .

JAYNE: And so I got his address and I wrote him. We were all prepared. We were going to drive up and meet them and we were going to bring them, drive them back, and show them the house and everything. And I got this note from his wife who said that unfortunately the admiral was suffering from Alzheimer's and wasn't seeing people. And I know he had been giving speeches as recently as several years beforehand. And, so, I really regret not having looked at this interview sooner because it would have meant so much. I think somewhere I read, maybe in an interview that -- so this would have been in the 20s when he grew up there -- and I remember reading that he had a dog growing up. And the dog's name was Calvin Coolidge. [interviewer laughs] So, I just -- thinking of this family living in 100 12th . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: With Calvin Coolidge.

JAYNE: . . . with Calvin Coolidge [interviewer laughs] on the corner there. But, it would have just meant a lot because it would have been fun to have relived what the house was like and all the things that, you know, wished you'd done.

JUNE-FRIESEN: His wife who wrote you, had she ever been to the house?

JAYNE: I don't -- no, no.

JUNE-FRIESEN: No. She didn't have any connection.

JAYNE: No, she didn't have any connection at all about it. So, that was -- so, then we were in 100 12th Street, which was really a wonderful house. It was -- and it was kind of a great neighborhood. As I said, Peter and Betty Glickert were there. I got to know them principally through a CHAW [Capitol Hill Arts Workshop] musical that I did with them, that I'll probably talk about later.


JAYNE: But, next door to us was a young couple, Amy Jagodnik and Martin McDermott. And what was fun about them -- Amy was sort of, had been an actress earlier on in her, before marriage I think. And they loved Halloween. And, so, they took this on as a project, which was to convert the alley, which ran all the way from behind their house -- the alley came out between, it came out sort of two houses in.


JAYNE: And then turned right and then went the length of the block all the way down to Independence. And it ran between Kentucky on one side and 12th Street on the other side, down those houses. And they took on the project of converting that entire alley to what they called Halloween Alley, I think they called it. And they set up a doorway door at their end, which was on the 12th Street side, and dressed up and they recruited a whole bunch of neighbors, all the way down, to have haunted things, you know.

JUNE-FRIESEN: In their backyards?

JAYNE: In their backyards, basically. So that, when you went down the haunted alley, people would be scared. Well, this became really famous. And, so, at Halloween -- and everybody got -- it became this neighborhood thing. Everybody got excited about it. And people would come from all over the place. And, so, there would be these long lines stretching to go through Halloween Alley. And, so, I just -- I remember that because it was really a kind of a fun . . . one of those things.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Do you remember any of the things that you did with your backyard?

JAYNE: Well, we didn't have a backyard. We had a side yard.


JAYNE: And the way that worked -- because we backed up to another house. But, we had this side yard. And originally it had been just the remainder of a garage. So, it had a concrete slab and no roof. The roof had caved in and it was just a concrete slab. It was the end of it. And we brought in -- we did a big renovation both in the house and in the garden and side yard. And the garden renovation was done by Gary Hallewell, who lived in the neighborhood. And, I've forgotten the name of his company but he's done a lot of renovations here on the Hill. Wonderful guy, he lives on 11th, no, lived on Ninth Street, I think. And did just a wonderful job with it and made it into -- put in a pond and all sorts of stuff. But one of the things on the side yard that was fun was we put the house on a tour for the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop Winter Revelry it was called. And this was a house tour thing that CHAW did around Christmas time. And you picked themes. So, our theme was New England Nautical, was our theme.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Imagine that. [interviewer laughs]

JAYNE: So, we put -- you know, we had all sorts of nautical sort of things. But, I got this idea that I wanted to have, like pretend that there was like a boat in the side yard. So, I borrowed a Penguin, which is a ten-foot boat, from a friend across the park. Leo Surla, across the park. He had the Penguin. So, we brought that over and we set it down. And I was going to -- I was actually going to pour water into the side yard and have it actually floating and put Christmas tree lights on it and all sorts of stuff. And then I got worried that it was all going to leak into the basement of the house next to us and I thought, well, that's not such a good idea. So, I didn't do that. But we pretended there was water and we put down a blue tarp and so forth.


JAYNE: But I built a dock in the side yard that came out and then put on a cleat and cleated the boat to the dock, with Christmas tree lights and so forth, trying to do this sort of . . . [interviewer laughs] Anyway that's my recollection of the side yard.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Of your decorations.

JAYNE: And, so . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: And, you know, that block or that neighborhood, I mean, how would you characterize it? Were people pretty close, or, you know . . .

JAYNE: Yeah, yeah. We didn't do block parties the way some blocks have done. But people knew each other pretty well. I ran into a guy this past weekend who was a neighbor, two or three doors down. And we always talk and, you know, have you heard from Amy and Martin? And so forth.

JUNE-FRIESEN: You still see these people around.

JAYNE: Yeah.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Yeah, yeah.

JAYNE: So, that's sort of fun. And, so, I see them around and stuff. One of the neighbors actually was Ruth Ann Overbeck.


JAYNE: Whose history project this is named after. She and Robert Hughes lived, I think, at 148 12th Street, down the block. And, at the far end, down at the other end, it was Cindy and Paul Hayes. And Cindy's been very active recently in Congressional Cemetery. And, so, they were friends for a long time.


JAYNE: And, so, that was -- we lived in that house until 2005. Basically the kids had grown and it was time to downsize. So, that's kind of what we did. We sold it and -- sold it in December of 2005. It was on the house tour, the [Capitol Hill] Restoration Society House Tour I think either last year or the year before, and my son, Toby, was in town and I said, "Well, we should go."


JAYNE: And so we did. And we saw the couple who had bought it from -- who we'd sold it to. And that was very nice and we had, you know, very nice things to say with them, and then went inside. And they have done very little -- it looked very similar and they've kept much of what we had done. They had changed some things and had done a beautiful job with everything and it just looked wonderful. And, so . . . it was nice to see -- it was sort of a nice to see . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Taken care of, right?

JAYNE: Very much taken care of. It's a nice thing to kind of go back and, you know, kind of wonder if that's a -- what it's going to look like. But it looks beautiful, so we really felt good. Toby -- this is when he was, 20 years ago, so it was his recollection, so it was kind of funny.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right. I mean, what were some of the things you liked? Just thinking of architecture that you liked about that house. What style was it? Or what was . . .

JAYNE: It was a Victorian thing. And, then, this renovation that we had done. Jean Wye was our general contractor. She is a friend. I'd coached her kid Jonathon in soccer back in the day. And then he's now is an artisan and sells at Eastern Market. And his specialty is leather belts and he then he does other things as well.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oh, Jon Wye, yeah, mm-hmm.

JAYNE: And he sells here and then also in New York. And Jean lives on the corner of, sort of just up east of Eastern Market on whatever -- Independence, right there. And she was the general contractor, so -- and it was a big project. Andre Houston, who lives on East Capitol, was the architect. And he had sort of big ideas sort of early on and we kind of slowly came sort of eye-to-eye . . .


JAYNE: . . . to less big plans. But sort of, and so forth. But, the renovation, as most people who have gone through this will remember, it's really an experience. We lived on the third floor for six months. The first two floors were gutted and then, so we . . .



JUNE-FRIESEN: Okay. Okay. So, you were talking about the renovation of your house on 12th Street.

JAYNE: Yeah. So, we're living up on the third floor and, finally, you know, after six months, you know, just stuff builds up in that third room, you know, where there's a hot plate and a [interviewer laughs] microwave. And that was about it.


JAYNE: And the refrigerator was on the first floor so you had to go all the way down, get the refrigerator, go up with milk, and then go all the way back down. But then, finally, I mean, just debris builds up and stuff. So, finally, we just -- at the end when the renovation was done we just left that room, shut the door. [interviewer laughs] And it stayed untouched for 20 years. We just never went back in there again. I mean, it was just full of stuff and it was just too daunting to kind of go through it. Finally, when we moved, we had to clean it out.

JUNE-FRIESEN: You must have found some artifacts when you . . .

JAYNE: We found a lot of artifacts. We found, you know, all sorts of great old clothing of the kids. [interviewer laughs] Alice -- my sister had knit Alice, my daughter, had knit her when she was two, roughly, so, a bowling sweater. [interviewer laughs] It had -- this white sweater that had "Alice" written across the back. And, you know, that was in there.

JUNE-FRIESEN: That was there?

JAYNE: And, you know, stuff like that. So, it was fun to kind of go through, but it was really daunting to try to clean that out.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And you had renovated this house because it really needed it? Like, it was sort of, had not been . . .

JAYNE: Yeah. It hadn't really been touched at all.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Since it was built here.

JAYNE: I mean there was still left, for example, when we moved in -- in the original design, there was a room for the servants. There was a backstairs that came down to the kitchen. And then a back walkway that went behind everything and came around to the front door, so that your help could go from the kitchen unobserved behind everything . . . to the front door to open the door to welcome guests and so forth. And so that -- not having any servants, [interviewer laughs] we decided that that wasn't really necessary. And so we redesigned it to push, to take advantage . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: More space.

JAYNE: . . . of using that space there in various ways.


JAYNE: And so forth. I don't know, at one point I said to Mary, I think, it would probably have been cheaper to keep the servant than do the renovation. [interviewer laughs]

JUNE-FRIESEN: Than move the wall.

JAYNE: Than move the wall. But it was a nice -- it was a wonderfully done job. There was one funny thing with . . . In one of that spaces where we pushed back there was sort of an alcove that we made that pushed back into the thing. And it had a circular top on it. And the builders, who were wonderful builders, but they said this can't be built. You can't cut wood to fit it. And Andre Houston said you could. So he and I spent an evening trying to put huge pieces of paper together to sketch out how this was -- in real life how this was going, at 100%, was going to actually curve and what the dimensions were going to be. So he could take it to Smoot's [Lumber Company] and have them cut the lumber to do this.


JAYNE: Which he did. And that worked out. So, there were sort of trials, sort of about it. But it worked out fine and it was a great house. And it is a great house.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And, I don't want to interrupt, but maybe while we're in this time period we could also talk about, you know, raising kids on the Hill. What would you have to say about that or some of the things you did with your kids? Or . . .

JAYNE: Well, we were -- both Mary and I had felt, agreed that we wanted to do public schools and we were part of a generation of parents who felt similarly. There was a real generation of people. And there was some feeling of pioneer in this at that time. But, at Peabody School, which would have been the elementary school where you went first, there was a very famous teacher, Lois Kaufmann, who was the pre-k teacher there. And everyone always wanted Lois Kaufmann. So, that was a big incentive for people to start with the public schools. And, then, the parents that we were with sort of agreed, kind of, that we were going to try to make this work and kind of continue on. At that time, there was also an effort to replace the school board candidate that we had, who people felt was ineffective, with another candidate who we felt would be more effective, who lived on the Hill and we knew, whose name was Bob Boyd.

JUNE-FRIESEN: This was the effective person.

JAYNE: Yeah.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Who was the ineffective person, do you remember?

JAYNE: I can't remember. I don't remember. [later remembered it was John Warren]

JUNE-FRIESEN: Okay. But, replacement was Bob Boyd.

JAYNE: Yeah, yeah.


JAYNE: And, so, we all got lined up, we all got involved in the Bob Boyd campaign for -- some more than others, and so forth. But everybody took the day off work that day for the elections and we were all out poll watching and everything. It was the first -- I remember it was the first time I ever saw a computer.


JAYNE: And it was a COMPAQ, I remember this. I don't know why I remember this. But, it came in this sort of suitcase like thing.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: It was just . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Where did you see it then?

JAYNE: Somebody had it and they were keeping track of something, for votes or something. [interviewer laughs] It was the first time I ever saw a computer.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And, like, certainly there weren't computer voting machines. [interviewer laughs]

JAYNE: No, no, no, no, no. No. Somebody was kind of tallying stuff.


JAYNE: It was basically kind of a big adding machine.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: But, they were trying to keep track of voter turnout in the different districts, and so forth.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right. Interesting.

JAYNE: And it made a big impression on me. Anyway, but, Bob Boyd won by, like, you know, ten votes.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Wow. So your efforts made a difference.

JAYNE: So, the efforts paid off. And after that he was known as Landslide Bob. [Both laugh] But the real catalyst of all of this was Veola Jackson, who was the principal, eventually became the principal of the cluster schools when Peabody and Watkins and Stuart Hobson were combined into one cluster, three campuses, and so forth. But she'd been there earlier and was really a galvanizing force for everybody and somebody that we all rallied around in terms of -- for those people who were interested in public education and wanted to kind of do that. And there were a lot of -- particularly, I think, the mothers who were in those families were strong personalities and that made a huge difference. They were determined to, I think, to support Veola and to make this a going situation. So . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: And can you just say a little bit more for people who would know more about Veola. What was her role then? She . . .

JAYNE: Well, she just had a way about her.

JUNE-FRIESEN: She was a mother? Or . . . No.

JAYNE: No, no. She was a . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: An educator.

JAYNE: An educator. An older black woman. And she just had a way about her that inspired you to believe that the reformation of the school was possible, that this was the right place for your kids.

JUNE-FRIESEN: What school was she at then?

JAYNE: She was at Peabody.

JUNE-FRIESEN: At Peabody, okay.

JAYNE: Yeah. And, then, eventually, as I say, in the mid 80s around her became -- the cluster school was formed, so that she ended up being principal of the entire cluster, Peabody, Watkins, and Stuart Hobson.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And would you say, these mothers you talk about, for example, would you say a lot of these family who were, you know, wanted to make that choice to support public education, would they have mostly been white professionals? Or . . .

JAYNE: Yes, yeah, yeah.


JAYNE: Included -- like Sharon Raimo would be the one and Jan MacKinnon, both of whom ended up taking positions with Veola as part of the working at the school. And then Sharon went on to become the head and founder of the enlarged St. Coletta's School, with the campus which is now down at the end of Independence Avenue there. But she, I think, really was a -- and then Jan MacKinnon stayed working at Stuart Hobson until now, as far as I know.


JAYNE: Or at least until recently. I think maybe she stopped last year, but for a long, long time. So, it was a big investment for everybody. But for Sharon and for Jan in particular it became a really almost career involvement. But there was a lot of mutual support and a lot of interest in making this happen. So, the kids started at Peabody and they both had Lois Kaufmann for pre-K.


JAYNE: And then after Peabody they went over to Watkins, which was at the end of 12th Street, so that made it easy.


JAYNE: And I always remember that Alice -- I'm not sure about Toby -- but Alice, when she went down -- Mott's was a corner store that's halfway between our house and Watkins, and she'd stop at Mott's on the way home every day, you know, at the end of the afternoon and so forth and get a snack. And the guy always talked about . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Big deal for her, right?

JAYNE: . . . you know, remembered Alice always stopping and getting a snack. And I think it was always a Snickers bar, but I'm not sure.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Now what is where Mott's was now?

JAYNE: Mott's is there.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right. But is it the same name?

JAYNE: Yeah.


JAYNE: Well, I'm not sure if it's the same name.

JUNE-FRIESEN: But, there's a store there, yeah.

JAYNE: It is to me. [laughs]

JUNE-FRIESEN: It's Mott's, of course. [laughs]

JAYNE: And the corner store that's at the foot of Lincoln Park is now, I think, there's Surroundings, and so forth. But for us it's Sam's.


JAYNE: It was Sam's. And I don't know what it is now, but it's Sam's.

JUNE-FRIESEN: It's a place that sells artisan cheese now.

JAYNE: Right, exactly.

JUNE-FRIESEN: I don't know if that's what it was then. [laughs]

JAYNE: No, it didn't. Then it was pretty much milk and bread, but . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: How would -- I'm curious about your kids' classmates at this age, you know. How would you describe the demographics of these classes?

JAYNE: Well, mixed. You know, there were the white parents that we, white families that were around us that we knew and so forth. And then black families, as well, who were part of the school. As the kids got older, the proportion of white kids dropped. And, so, both of the kids went through Stuart Hobson, which is eighth grade. But we just felt that it was part of, if you were going to live in the city, it was part of the education that they would, you know -- it was an opportunity for them to get an education and to see kids and meet kids that they probably weren't likely to maybe see . . .


JAYNE: . . . in their life later on. So, we felt pretty strongly about sticking with that.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And looking back, you still feel like that was the right choice?

JAYNE: Yeah, very much. Very much so. It was a little bit of a funny situation because in Toby's case, Toby was the last white boy in his class when he graduated. And then he went to Exeter, which is where I had gone, and it was a kind of a [inaudible] thing that I wanted to do. It was nice to have a, you know, a common bond with that. And there he had a teacher, actually, that I had had.


JAYNE: I had him his first year and Toby had him his last year.


JAYNE: At Exeter. So, that's a good thing. But what was funny was that Toby at Exeter had a little bit of a difficult sort of first couple of years and really sort of hit his stride when he found two black teachers that he could identify with. One was his -- he moved to a dorm that was headed by a black teacher. And the other one was the minister, school minister. And once he kind of found those two men his career at Exeter became solid and he became known as the poster child for turning your career around at Exeter. And I've always made some -- it's been relevant to me that his ability, I think, to relate to other races was from that experience of growing up here.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: That was just our experience.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Any other things about, yeah, kids on the Hill?

JAYNE: Well, the big thing was, for Peabody, for the cluster schools, the big thing was the Capitol Hill Classic race. And that was the big fundraiser and it had been started again by this group of families who were -- and it was a way to raise money. And it was the 100th anniversary, actually, of Peabody School which had prompted the thing to start. And, so, that would have been '82 or somewhere in there, I guess. And it was a 10K race around sort of Capitol Hill. In the beginning it was a little loosely defined, but by the time it got to the fifth year, it had really begun to attract a following of runners.

JUNE-FRIESEN: From the city in general?

JAYNE: From the city in general. And running was getting to be popular. And we were beginning to get a lot of runners. And, so, the fifth year, I became the chairman of the race for the fifth year. And it was really quite an undertaking to do this. I had no idea about what this was like.

JUNE-FRIESEN: You found out. [laughs]

JAYNE: Found out. So we measured the course for the first time and got it certified for its length. And that was a big deal. And hired the running company -- the usual things -- and hired the running company to do it and so forth. And it was all, it was quite a big team effort and a wonderful kind of community coming together of these families to put this on. Then you really build up quite a bit of excitement about this. And the race day itself was probably one of the longest days of my life, [interviewer laughs] because the night before we're driving around the course checking to make sure that everything's all right and right at the starting line, which was just beyond Stanton Park up Mass Ave . . .


JAYNE: There was an enormous hole.

JUNE-FRIESEN: A sinkhole?

JAYNE: No, that the city sewer department or something had dug. [interviewer laughs] It's about 12 feet deep and covers the entire width of the street. And I'm going, now in about 12 hours there's supposed to be a thousand runners . . .


JAYNE: . . . who are supposed to go across where now there is a 12-foot hole. And, so, I just went apoplectic. But we finally found somebody and they said don't worry, it's going to be whatever. So, the next morning -- I mean we were all up at like four or something -- and by the next morning there had been a steel plate that was put over the hole. Why they had to dig it the day before the race I don't know, but there it was. And the steel plate wasn't particularly great either.

JUNE-FRIESEN: I was going to say.

JAYNE: Because there is a little bit of a lip there. So, anyway, the next day so we get up and so forth. Well, of course, it has to rain.


JAYNE: So, we have a bunch of runners standing around in the rain. And the streets are all blocked off by the police. And I think there was some sort of job action or something that was going on at that point because they wouldn't let the race start. It was supposed to start at 8:00 or 8:30 or something. And they wouldn't let the race start. And, so, we have I don't know how many runners, it was 500, a thousand, something like that, standing in the rain waiting to start. And of course people are beginning to yell and the police are standing there and they're not going to let it start. So that just got longer and longer and so forth. Bruce Brennan, who was my assistant that year and then ran the race, was in charge of the race the next year, got up on the back of the police car, the front, with a bullhorn and told everybody to calm down and the race was going to start soon and so forth. Finally it started and people finished and it was fine. But it just was the longest thing.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And what time of year was that then?

JAYNE: This was in the spring.

JUNE-FRIESEN: You had held it in spring.

JAYNE: Yeah.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And there was some sort of protest. You said you're not sure why the police were . . .

JAYNE: I never knew why, but they just . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: But they wouldn't let you.

JAYNE: They wouldn't let the race start and everybody just had to sort of stand there for it felt like months. But, it wasn't.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And when it did start?

JAYNE: And when it did start it was fine.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And did it go -- was it all this side of Lincoln Park?

JAYNE: Yeah. Well, it goes out around RFK [Robert F. Kennedy] Stadium and then back.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oh, okay, all the way out there and back.

JAYNE: Yeah. And then back and then down the Hill and then around down at the bottom of the Hill and then you run up the Hill and finish in front of Peabody School at Stanton Park.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And before this run -- Now there're a lot of runs that use that route. But were you kind of the first ones to be doing running on the Hill like that?

JAYNE: I think so, I think so.


JAYNE: Yeah. I think that was the first one.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Okay. Interesting.

JAYNE: Yeah. And, again, it started probably, you know, in the early 80s. I'm not sure exactly. This was the fifth one.


JAYNE: But, what a day. Oh, my lord.

JUNE-FRIESEN: But that was the main fundraiser for the school, that one.

JAYNE: Yeah, yeah. And that was a big deal. And I stayed involved with the race in various other kind of things for a number of years afterwards. And every year somebody new would have to be the chairman [interviewer laughs] and they would have to worry about all this stuff. Every year the big thing was picking the t-shirt -- what color t-shirt? -- because that was always sort of the big thing to decide. And you always went out early, you know, several months ahead, to the t-shirt lady and she'd show you all the colors. And you'd bring back the t-shirt to your committee and show it and everybody would be excited and so forth. [interviewer laughs] That was sort of fun.

The other big item that was on the Hill then, and still is, was Soccer on the Hill. And I got involved in doing that. I was coach. I didn't know a thing about soccer but Soccer on the Hill was what everybody, what all the kids did.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And who started Soccer on the Hill then?

JAYNE: You know, I don't remember.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Or it just sort of happened or . . .

JAYNE: Oh, people did.

JUNE-FRIESEN: It had been going for a while ...

JAYNE: And I should know that.

JUNE-FRIESEN: . . . and you got involved.

JAYNE: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And there were people who, you know, who knew about soccer and had done it in college, you know, somewhere. And they had started it. And it was a big thing. And everybody -- it was fun. Everybody kind of did it. But coaching was sort of -- and it didn't seem to really matter too much. Then, I think it starts earlier now, but at that point it was -- seven year olds were the youngest. And, so, I think the Cyclones was my team for a couple of years.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Were your children on that team?

JAYNE: Yeah, yeah.


JAYNE: So, Toby was first. He was on the Cyclones. They had orange shirts.

JUNE-FRIESEN: With cyclones?

JAYNE: And, of course, the funny thing was that the younger -- when you just start out, the parents are intensely interested and show up at every game and they make banners and they do all sorts of stuff. At seven. When the kid turns eight, then, a little less interested. And, then, nine, the parents are less interested. And then, you know, by ten or 11 the parents aren't interested at all. But at seven it's really a big . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: That's a fun year to coach.

JAYNE: It's a fun thing. But I have to say that was a very important part of my Capitol Hill experience because the families that I met there have remained very close. I feel close to them. And to this day I'll just remember things and I'll say, "Oh, well, I coached his kid in soccer." There's that association that I remember. And now these kids are in their mid-30s and I'll see them. But there's still sort of a bond about that which is funny.


JAYNE: I think other coaches will say the same. That when you've had a kid on a team and you've coached them on a team there's a nice, there's a kind of a special relationship in that you remain -- you have a sort of a special relationship with that kid even when he becomes, you know, 30, like they are now, or when they get older and so forth.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Do you still see some of them around here?

JAYNE: Sure. Yep, yep.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Still living around here.

JAYNE: Yep, yep. But it was kind of funny because, I mean, I didn't really know anything about soccer at all and there were several parents who didn't know much either. But we all were very enthusiastic about it. [interviewer laughs] But a couple of times when I had to go, I'd be out of town or something and couldn't, like, coach at the games, and so I'd recruit other parents to coach at the games, which didn't really involve too much.


JAYNE: You know, the big issue was who was going to bring the oranges and the water . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right. [laughs]

JAYNE: . . . so that the kids could have oranges and water. That was the big thing. But I remember -- Bruce Brennan and I still laugh about this, which was I asked him to fill in for me one game and he said "Well, I don't know anything about soccer." And I said "I don't know anything either." And he said "Well, tell me what to do. What am I supposed to do?" So I wrote out cards for him for stuff to yell from the sidelines [both laugh] so he'd sound like he knew what he was talking about.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Do you remember what was on the cards?

JAYNE: Yes. "Don't bunch up." [interviewer laughs] That was the big, that was the big one. "Don't bunch up." And we still laugh, we still laugh about that.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oh, that's funny. I guess that's when a lot of -- that's when kids were starting to get into soccer in the U. S. more, right?

JAYNE: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. And the other interesting thing then was -- this was just the beginning, if I have this right, this was just the beginning of Title IX for girls.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Okay, right.

JAYNE: So when Alice came along, at seven she was doing co-ed soccer, which was what happened. But, then, as she got older, there was an individual girls' league, for just girls' teams that I coached. And that was great to see because you could see the girls really -- it was clear to my generation that this was an opportunity that their mothers hadn't had.


JAYNE: To be part of a sports team, an all girls sports team, and to know what that was like, and to participate with other girls in doing sports. And you could see how important it was. It was to Alice. It was a great experience and it made me a real believer in this as an activity for girls.


JAYNE: And it was for Alice. And Alice did sports later on in college and stuff. And it was important. So, I was kind of grateful for that.

JUNE-FRIESEN: That's interesting. I think Title IX -- was that '79, I think, or something like that.

JAYNE: Yeah, well, Alice was born in '79 so this was the first ten years of that period.


JAYNE: She would have been seven when she started.


JAYNE: So, you know, it was really an important period.


JAYNE: And just seeing that kind of begin to kind of come into place was interesting.


JAYNE: I guess the other sort of major thing for me at that time was CHAW.


JAYNE: The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop. And that was actually a major kind of part of my life at that point. We had bought -- I had played the piano and other instruments, sort of, growing up. We bought a piano for 325 Maryland. And that had come. So, I'd be playing there and Mary would say, "Well, you ought to go check out this Arts Workshop thing," because the kids were taking classes at the Arts Workshop.

JUNE-FRIESEN: They were, okay.

JAYNE: "And you ought to go find it." So, I did. And the first thing I got involved with was -- they had these musical reviews that they were really just sort of starting. So, this would have been in the early 80s again.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And was CHAW pretty young still then?

JAYNE: Yeah. CHAW had started in '72, because this is 2012 and it's the 40th anniversary, so it was . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, okay.

JAYNE: But they hadn't moved in -- originally they had been in the basement, I think, of the Presbyterian Church and now they had moved into the CHAW building at Seventh and G [Streets SE].

JUNE-FRIESEN: And the Presbyterian is at Independence and . . .

JAYNE: Fourth.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Fourth, yeah.

JAYNE: So, they'd moved into that school. They'd been given the school to renovate -- and I think that was in 1980 -- and so they just had moved into that school.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And that school had been empty, not used?

JAYNE: Empty. Yeah, not used. Extra surplus for the DC government.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Okay, okay.

JAYNE: And so that was pretty new and everybody was excited about it and so forth. And, so, one of the things they had was this music review stuff. And this particular one that I got involved in was on Jerome Kern, an American composer, early, who I loved. And, so, I got to play the piano and people sang and so forth. It was at Christ Church, in the parish hall at Christ Church.

JUNE-FRIESEN: The community came to listen.

JAYNE: Yeah. The community came to listen.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Was it free or was it . . . ?

JAYNE: Yeah, I think. Or . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Or low cost.

JAYNE: Yeah, low cost or something. It was very, you know, it was pretty amateur stuff. But I thought it was wonderful and I love that kind of music. So, that evolved for me into a pretty regular routine of doing the shows and doing, both in one half of the year, either in the spring or fall, doing musical reviews there. And then in the other half of the year doing Broadway musicals, which started sort of in the mid-80s, I think. They'd started earlier. I think they'd done Damn Yankees and I hadn't been involved in that. And then every year sort of after that they would do a Broadway musical. And, so, I did, I think, maybe four of the Broadway musicals. Mostly -- three of them as a rehearsal pianist and playing piano for the performance. And, then -- and Phil DeSellem who was the piano teacher at CHAW was the music director and there was a pit orchestra.

JUNE-FRIESEN: I was wondering if there were. Okay.

JAYNE: And so people would come in from the neighborhood and play stuff.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: And then I'd play the piano for that. And, then, Annie was the one musical that I was actually the music director of. And Phil played the piano for that. And that was really a fabulous experience. We announced, I think -- people would wonder, well, what's the next musical? So, at that point it became Annie and everybody wanted to sign up. We were trying to find musicals that involved kids.

JUNE-FRIESEN: I was wondering. Was it kids that were involved in these?

JAYNE: Yeah. Not always.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Sometimes it doesn't work, I guess.

JAYNE: But there was an emphasis -- if we could find one we would sort of do it. The other ones we did, we did Music Man. Which had lots of kids. And one of my favorite photographs of the kids when they were young is of Alice and Toby in their Music Man costumes, which Mary had made to look turn of the century.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oh, that's great.

JAYNE: You know, from that period. Those are really fun. And, then, Annie came and everybody signed up. It seemed like all of Capitol Hill signed up to be in Annie. We had a hundred girls sign up.


JAYNE: And, what we did -- and we don't, you know, really cut people. I mean that wasn't . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: It's not community theater.

JAYNE: . . . not the point really. So, we ended up with three casts.


JAYNE: We had three different casts. There were six performances, so each cast got two shows. So there was a red cast and a white cast and a blue cast. And so we had all hundred girls who were orphans. So we had three different casts of 30 plus orphans in each one. And we'd rehearse in CHAW and there'd be this room of . . .



JUNE-FRIESEN: All right. If it's registering, then we should be okay. So, all right. So, you were talking about a hundred girls rehearsing in one room . . .

JAYNE: Oh, for Annie.

JUNE-FRIESEN: . . . for Annie. [laughs]

JAYNE: Yeah, yeah. It was -- I mean you'd walk around or I would sort of walk around Capitol Hill and you could find clumps of girls various places on the street practicing their moves and so forth. [interviewer laughs]

JUNE-FRIESEN: Did you have three Annies?

JAYNE: We had three Annies and we had three Miss Hannigans.


JAYNE: Let's see. We had Donna Fletcher and her daughter Allison were Miss Hannigan and Annie. And Adele Robey was Miss Hannigan with Julia, her daughter Julia Robey was Annie. And Linda Norton was Miss Hannigan the third and Annie Weirich was Annie. And Leo Surla was Daddy Warbucks. And Leo lives up on Lincoln Park and Leo was -- it was sort of funny because he specialized in bald roles, [interviewer laughs] because he did Daddy Warbucks and then he also did the king in King and I.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oh, really.

JAYNE: And, since Yul Brynner shaved his head, Leo felt that he had to shave his head.

JUNE-FRIESEN: I was going to say because he's still not bald today. [laughs]

JAYNE: No, he's not bald today but for these roles he would shave his head.

JUNE-FRIESEN: [laughing] That's great.

JAYNE: So that was always kind of something to look forward to.

JUNE-FRIESEN: [laughing] Oh, that's great.

JAYNE: So, those musicals were really fabulous and it was one part of the Hill that meant a great deal to me which was the sort of the intergenerational kind of nature of these activities. I mean the kids were there and were full partners with the adults in putting these shows on. In King and I, Toby had a part, which was Louie, which is the son of Anna.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Okay, right.

JAYNE: And the son of the king was a boy named Reuven Goren and I saw Reuven the other day. And this meant -- I mean for Reuven it became part of his life really because he went on to Carnegie-Mellon and majored in theater . . .


JAYNE: . . . and he's a theater tech guy now. So these shows had a huge impact growing up, I think, on the kids and something to really look forward to and something they really enjoyed.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Were they getting to do these kinds of things in school or was this kind of an only opportunity?

JAYNE: No, this was kind of the only opportunity as far as I knew to do it. But, all the community turned out. Mary Procter did the sets always, so that was kind of a big deal. Bill Matuszeski, her husband, was the captain in King and I. Dorothy Kellogg, who was Mame, also was Anna in King and I. And both Dorothy and Jim, her husband, became very close friends and I did other musical stuff with them in other places. So, that was a friendship that was kind of born out of all of this. But those musicals were really fun. And then also the musical reviews were really fun. We did a bunch of different things. They had a theme usually, like the Kern one.


JAYNE: So we would do -- we did a Gershwin one, for example, which was great. And basically they're kind of amateur things, talent show kind of things, I guess. But, Sally Crowell, who was the director and ran CHAW, started CHAW -- she's basically a theater-dance person and had a wonderful sense -- was really a kind of what I've heard described as a pilot personality. I mean she really attracted people to be doing these things.


JAYNE: To CHAW and then to doing these musicals as well. So she and I would collaborate on how these things would work on the musical reviews. And, you know, it was important to her that there would be a beginning and a middle and an end and they came together in certain ways. It wasn't just one thing streamed after another.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: But it had some sort of logical, kind of dramatic kind of sense to it. But they were basically opportunities for people to perform. And no one was ever turned away really. I mean we'd always find kind of some way of involving people in doing them. And, so, that was kind of special in lots of different things. We did one on the 60s music, which was very kind of odd, which was fun. We did one on 1940s. There's a book show called 1940s Radio Hour and we did that show. And the kind of thing happens, which I love, which is a guy tried out, Jeff Serfass, for one of the parts. And it became -- during the tryouts and so forth, it became clear that one of the characters played an instrument, played the saxophone. And Jeff said, well, I used to play the saxophone in college, you know, or high school, or something, and he hadn't touched it in a long time. But why don't I get it out and see what I could do. So, he did. And it became an opening really for him to bring the saxophone back into his life and now he plays at church and with me for other things and it's become a huge part of his life and for his son, as well. And it just came about because of trying out for 1940s Radio Hour and, you know, yeah, I can do the sax.


JAYNE: Why not? And that became part of it. So that was an important kind of piece of it.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Did you generally feel that there was a lot of musical talent on the Hill? I mean -- or was this really new for a lot of people or were a lot of people . . .

JAYNE: It's, you know, like everything. There are some people who are really talented and then it tails off. And I used to laugh with Hap Carr. He was in one of the Broadway shows we did and, I mean, Hap had trouble musically and so forth. But it was fine, you know, and we made it work and it would be fine.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: And, you know, he and I have laughed about sort of, since then, about, you know, stuff. The nice thing about the Workshop, I've said this often, was the name really. Because the Workshop, just the name gives you the sense that this isn't kind of performed, this isn't kind of a theater and it's, you know, your finished product and it has to be really good and so forth. Everything is always kind of a work in progress even though you're going to perform it. But it's either your work in progress or it's a work in progress [interviewer laughs] and we're going to perform it and we're going to do as well as we can. But the stakes are really low here. And you're given the opportunity to try something new . . .


JAYNE: . . . it you want to and it's fine and just doing it. And that was the attitude and the atmosphere there and it was really an encouraging one and it was a great one. And the kids' stuff was fun, too. Of course there was a lot of emphasis on kids and we did musicals there. Two that I remember particularly. We did Peter and the Wolf. And I actually got a score out and tried to find people to do . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: A fun score.

JAYNE: . . . different instruments. I found a flute player. My piano tuner played flute, so I got her to play the flute. And John O'Brien, who was in high school, we rented tympani and he played tympani. And I found a bassoon player and some other -- and I did strings on the piano. I played all the violin, you know, parts for the rest. And then the kids danced. You know, a lot of it involved . . . a dance and then the rest of the story. And that was quite fun I thought. I liked that quite a bit. And we did You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown. And that was very fun, too. So, I quite liked both the music reviews and the -- and out of them came a couple of things. I mean one of them that came out of these music reviews was the [Capitol Hill] Chorale.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right. The Capitol Hill Chorale.

JAYNE: And the Jaynettes came out of these shows, as well. So there was a lot to be thankful for, kind of, out of these things.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And would you like to talk either about the -- maybe tell me what the Jaynettes are. And I wrote something down here about chicken man. I'm not sure what this is . . .

JAYNE: Well, that's sort of another ...

JUNE-FRIESEN: . . . but do you want to talk about those? Or is that . . .

JAYNE: That was another thing. That was sort of a fun thing at auctions. There are a lot of auctions on the Hill raising money for different schools and different things. And, so, at one of the auction's items that you could bid on and win was somebody would film, make a movie, silent movie. If you won, they would make a silent movie for you. You would write the script and tell them what you wanted to do and the person who was doing this would film it and make a movie out of it. Edit it and so forth. A silent movie. So Bill Matuszeski and Mary Procter won this thing and decided to make a movie called "Chicken Man." Silent movie. So, they got a friend to dress up in a chicken suit and they made up this story that was sort of kind of a mystery super hero thing, where the chicken man was the super hero and had to prevent somebody, some guy, it was a Russian spy, from blowing up Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. [interviewer laughs] And so they actually went to Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant to do some filming. I mean, this was all very . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: In a chicken suit. [laughs]

JAYNE: In a chicken suit, right. But since it was a silent movie they needed music. So they came -- they said, "Can you do some music?" And I said, "Well, let me try." So, I did. And I had a trio at that point that we played, sort of, around, of different music, with Bruce Robey on trumpet and Debbie Edge, who was my doctor, and everybody else's doctor, on bass.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oh, right. She still practices here on the Hill. Yeah.

JAYNE: She's a great bass player. Yeah, yeah. And so then Bruce gave it the name The Not So Plain Jayne Trio. That's the name that he gave it. And so we decided that the three of us would do the music for "Chicken Man." And so we wrote it and then recorded it, which meant sitting at 100 12th Street with very primitive stuff watching the silent movie and then playing [interviewer laughs] on some screen. And I don't even remember what kind of screen that could have been back then. I mean, this was all pre-computers.

JUNE-FRIESEN: A little TV. [laughs]

JAYNE: And then recording this stuff. And then that was dubbed onto the tape and then people could buy the tape. But then there was a performance, an actual, you know, a live performance, at CHAW.

JUNE-FRIESEN: So you played along with the tape.

JAYNE: Yeah. And everybody came and everybody had to dress up in chicken gear. [interviewer laughs] So, everybody showed up wearing yellow stuff. I mean hats that did different things and so forth. It was all kind of a hoot.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oooh. And, you were just speaking of composition, you guys composed this music you said. Had you been doing composition during that time very much or not as much?

JAYNE: Not a lot. Just, you know, off and on, just for one thing or another that came along that seemed interesting. But, not really.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And so who are the Jaynettes?

JAYNE: Well, the Jaynettes were -- this started at one of the CHAW shows. I think the 60s show, although I'm a little unclear about that. I think originally . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: It was the 60s.

JAYNE: It was the 60s show [interviewer laughs] that we did for one of the musical reviews. But, I think it started where Adele Robey and Linda Norton and Peggy O'Brien -- and they were going to sing Andrews Sisters stuff. And I was going to do the arranging and so forth for that. And we did that a little bit and it wasn't kind of working too well. But then Raye LeValley joined. Raye worked at CHAW.


JAYNE: One of the teachers and everybody loves Raye. And she joined, so that became the four women and we switched over to doo-wop. [interviewee takes a drink.] Basically the women's, what's called the girl groups sound from the 60s. So it's groups like the Marvelettes or the Shangri-Las or the Chiffons or the Crystals or so forth. You know, these songs that everybody knows from the 60s. And once we started that, it got to be -- it really sort of clicked right away. And it was fun and we all had fun doing it together. And I would be in the background just playing keyboard for them and they would sing. And we'd do arrangements. And it got to be kind of fun. And, of course, everybody loves to hear this stuff and then seeing people that you know doing this stuff is even more fun. So we got to be pretty active actually. And this is about the time when everybody was having either 40th or 50th birthdays and 25th wedding anniversaries. So there was a lot of that. And, then, actually did a lot of stuff sort of elsewhere. And people would call up and say do you want to do this. And, you know, it was very fun.

JUNE-FRIESEN: How did the name come about?

JAYNE: Well, Adele came up with the name.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Decided to use your name.

JAYNE: Yeah, she decided to use my name. The long title was Parker Jayne and the Jaynettes, Vintage Music by Vintage Women. That was the long title.

JUNE-FRIESEN: [laughing] You weren't even very vintage then.

JAYNE: Well, Katy. I don't know.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And is that still going on?

JAYNE: Yeah, maybe once a year. We've done a couple of things. Once a year now at the Village, the Capitol Hill Village gala, which the last one was last January. This is May. So last January. And we've added Jeff Serfass as a saxophone player. Now he's been doing it for about ten years or so as a saxophone player. And that's really to fun to have. We've had different drummers. Peggy's son, John O'Brien, was our drummer for a while and we've had other drummers as well. And then recently we discovered -- early on there was -- ten or 15 years ago -- there was a guy named Bill Barry who we all liked and knew through CHAW musicals and he did a wonderful Elvis. So, he was sort of part of the group for a while. And, unfortunately, Bill died. But, in the past year or so, we found Chris McGahey in the Chorale.


JAYNE: And Chris has joined. And Chris is a wonderful singer and does a wonderful Elvis, is now. So he's become our new Elvis. And, so, he's performed a couple of times at the Capitol Hill Village gala and he's been terrific. [interviewer laughs] So, that's been an extra kind of fun thing. So, we do it right now maybe sort of once a year. Although every time we do it, everybody says "Oh, we should do it more," and so forth. But, it's hard because Raye lives in New Jersey and so it's getting her back down for rehearsal schedules and stuff is hard.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: Everybody's got stuff to do, so. But, it's very fun.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Well, and you've mentioned the Chorale a couple of times here, which also grew out of CHAW. So, tell me about the beginnings of the Capitol Hill Chorale.

JAYNE: I think, my recollection is that, in my mind, it started in the Gershwin review because we'd done all these different songs. And at the end of the Gershwin review I thought it would be nice -- I found this arrangement that put together four-part harmony, put together a medley of Gershwin songs. And we had some really nice voices in that. We probably had ten singers altogether and we had some really nice singers, voices. And, so I thought, well, let's do this medley and that would end the show. So we did this medley and -- written out arrangement, nice arrangements of the stuff -- and it sounded really nice, I thought. And I thought, you know, this is kind of cool. And I hadn't sung in college or I wasn't a vocal person at all. I was an instrumental person.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Instrumental, okay.

JAYNE: But, I thought, instrumental stuff is hard and getting all that organized and so forth. But, singing, people just have their voice. And this Gershwin thing sort of persuaded me. But at the time there was a group called the Capitol Hill Choral Society, which was headed by a woman named Betty Buchanan. It had probably 60, 80 people in it. And it was -- the Capitol Hill for that really was the Congress, because Betty's husband, John Buchanan, was a congressman. And, so, the Capitol Hill name had more of a congressional kind of connotation, really.


JAYNE: They didn't live on the Hill, for example.


JAYNE: Although there were Hill people who sang in it. And as long as there was something called the Capitol Hill Choral Society though it just didn't seem -- you know, it seemed like that space was filled and there didn't seem to be a need. Well, in 1993 I was on the Board at the Arts Workshop and Bonny Wolf was on the Board of the Arts Workshop, also, with me. And she sang with Betty Buchanan in the Capitol Hill Choral Society. And she, at some Board meeting, she said that Betty had announced that she was going to disband the larger group and would keep a smaller group. But disband the larger group and that there were going to be 40 singers looking for a home and a place to go. And it occurred to both of us that starting a group would make sense. And we had these sort of ready to go singers.


JAYNE: So, that was in the summer of 1993. And we quickly sort of made plans about, well, how would we do this and so forth. We contacted Betty Buchanan and took her to dinner at The Monocle and said -- she was very gracious -- and we explained what we wanted to do. And she had brought some numbers on what the budget would look like.


JAYNE: And some of the kind of really practical kind of things that would be involved. And we just talked through with her about what was involved and how we would do this.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Running a choir. Yeah.

JAYNE: [Takes a drink.] And got her blessing and she really wished us well. And, then, right at the end of the dinner, she gave us the name of Jim Turk and she said, "You know, I don't know Jim but I was involved somehow in an audition in some other group and he didn't win the audition but I was impressed with him and you might give him a call." So, we got his number and called him up and said ,"You don't know us and we don't have a chorus, actually, but [interviewee laughs] we're thinking of starting one and would you be interested . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: In conducting. Right.

JAYNE: . . . in being our director." Yeah. So, he said sure, he'd be interested, let's talk. So, we took him to dinner at The Monocle, as well. So, this is like early August, probably, '93.

JUNE-FRIESEN: All things happen at The Monocle.

JAYNE: So, The Monocle is where the Chorale was born, I think. [interviewer laughs] And, so, he came and he brought -- I didn't ask him for this -- but he brought three programs for what he would just do for his initial season. This is what it would look like. And that was impressive, so we really liked that. And we just kind of talked through, you know, things and where he'd been. And we got along with Jim very well, I think, just good chemistry about it, and so that was his audition.


JAYNE: And right after that we said, "You're our guy." And he said, "Great." And so that was the oddest audition anybody's ever had . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: [laughing.] Right.

JAYNE: . . . which was over dinner at The Monocle. And, so, we started rehearsals at CHAW, sort of recruited. We had this group of people all ready to go from the Choral Society.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And you recruited other people?

JAYNE: And we recruited other people.

JUNE-FRIESEN: How did you do that? Put up signs? Or . . .

JAYNE: I can't remember. Signs.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Word of mouth?

JAYNE: Word of mouth mostly . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Okay, okay.

JAYNE: . . . is probably what it was. And the initial group was sort of 40, 45, something like that. So, most of the people were people who came from the Choral Society and some additional people. There are still probably four or five people in the Chorale who were in that initial group.


JAYNE: Tim Temple is one. John Brandt is one. I'm one.


JAYNE: Ginny is one.


JAYNE: Ginny Gano is one and Eric Richardson who was in that initial group and then was in Foreign Service, went overseas for many years, and then has recently come back.


JAYNE: And, so, with that we started out.


JAYNE: And rehearsed at CHAW.


JAYNE: And then switched pretty quickly to the Presbyterian Church.


JAYNE: Upstairs. So that was -- and had our first concert in December of 1993.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And how did it go? How was it received?

JAYNE: Oh, great. [both laugh] No, it was really fun. It was really, really fun. And then the second concert -- I just still can't believe this happened but --  I mean, Jim, talk about eyes bigger than your stomach or whatever that expression goes . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right. No that's -- yeah.

JAYNE: For the second concert he programmed -- he was working on, at the time, his thesis at University of Maryland his thesis in choral conducting.


JAYNE: For his Ph.D. And his Ph.D. thesis was the recreation, the resurrection and recreation of a Russian piece, "All Night Vigil" by Grechaninov, who is a very well know Russian composer, turn of the century. This piece had been lost during the revolution and Jim was in the -- parts of it had been rediscovered -- and Jim was in the process of resurrecting and putting the pieces back together again. So, there really wasn't a score. It was a Xerox copy and so forth. So we were going to sing the American premiere and maybe, I don't know, at least the American premiere of this piece -- for the first time in how many years, a hundred years -- of the Grechaninov "All Night Vigil," plus the Copeland "In the Beginning," which is a very hard piece for alto soloist and chorus, plus the Samuel Barber "Agnus Dei," which is the vocal arrangement of that wonderful Samuel Barber very sad thing that I can't remember right now the name of it. [He later remembered it was Adagio for Strings] But you know what I mean.

JUNE-FRIESEN: I can't either.

JAYNE: [Takes a drink.] So, that's huge.

JUNE-FRIESEN: This is all for your second concert.

JAYNE: This is all for the second concert which is supposed to happen three months after the first concert in March. Well, March didn't happen. [interviewer laughs] So, but we finally did it in June [correction: May 20 and 22, 1994]. And I think . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: And you did all three.

JAYNE: And we did all three. And, so, it was pretty remarkable, I think. Really kind of set the bar pretty high.


JAYNE: So, starting from about 45 singers, we grew sort of gradually up. Right now we have about 80. It gets to 90 and then trails back down to kind of 80 at kind of performance time. Jim Turk was our music director until 2000. June 2000 was his last concert. And he'd by then had taken over being music director, I think, of the women's chorus of Annapolis. I think he was maybe teaching high school by that point, anyway. The way people have to do in the profession is patch together -- he had a church job.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: And he loved the Chorale and was very happy with it and we loved him. But it was just one thing -- his kids were now getting to the eight year old age and just too many things were going on. And he had to drop one thing and it was the Chorale. So, we recruited nationally, got a number of applicants for a new position. And one of them was from a guy in Atlanta, Fred Binkholder. And we were intrigued by his resume and so he flew up and came -- I think we knew . . . Jim was a very helpful part of the process in advising us as the team and, you know, we were very much looking for his feedback. And Jim, all of us, including Jim, was instantly impressed with what Fred brought.

JUNE-FRIESEN: What was it that was interesting? Both his resume, what intrigued you and then what sold you on . . .

JAYNE: It was just his manner as much as anything. He carried sort of a depth, I think it's kind of a real depth of feeling about the music that conveyed. That this was -- and it just made rehearsals -- and his -- that practice rehearsal that he led, the audition rehearsal that he led, a different tone than anybody else. And we had some very well known people who now are fairly large names in the Washington choral society, they're still people and they've gotten choruses and they're -- and so forth. But there was something particular about Fred that impressed all of us and we knew kind of pretty much right away. So, that -- his first concert was in June of 2000, no, it was in December of 2000.


JAYNE: That was his first concert. So we just celebrated his tenth anniversary a couple of years ago. It would have been 2010 which we celebrated in 2011. [laughs]

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right. With the what's his name's piece.

JAYNE: Yeah. The . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Do you think, just, sorry, had Fred been planning to come to DC or did this start -- did he come for this and then hoped to find . . .

JAYNE: He came for this. No, he came for this for us.


JAYNE: He was in Atlanta at, I think at Georgia State, and came for this. It was -- he needed jobs to patch together in order to make this work and so got a job teaching at a school. It helped that some people in the Chorale were related to the school. So that helped.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right. This was which school?

JAYNE: Yeah. At Kingsbury.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, okay.

JAYNE: And, then, also a church job. And so that put that together and so that's the way it worked at the time.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And when he first came, was it a change for the singers from Jim Turk? Or how did -- was it pretty similar?

JAYNE: I don't remember that being -- I mean everybody's got their own style.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Of course, right.

JAYNE: But, beyond that I don't think of it as being . . . but, we thought of Jim as being, I think, a good programmer. There were a lot of great things that Jim had done that we really liked. We had done a -- we always had done a kind of variety of things and have continued with Fred to do a variety of things. And I think like doing that. We'd done, with Jim, the Rutter requiem. We had done a concert of spirituals, which was great. We had done the Bach "St. John Passion." We'd done the Rachmaninoff "All Night Vigil." We did a program of Broadway musicals . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: . . . selections from Broadway musicals. So, a pretty broad range of things and I think that's always been kind of in our, of interest to the singers was to do a range of things. And Fred certainly maintained that. The kinds of things that Fred brought with him in addition: one was an interest in choral jazz and a facility in singing choral jazz. And we've done two programs of that with a cornet player from the DC area named David Jellema, the most recent of which was last December, which was really a hoot and very, very fun. We've done -- Fred is interested in doing collaboration . . .



JUNE-FRIESEN: It's ready. Okay. Now we're registering. Okay, and, so, music the Chorale has done.

JAYNE: Yeah. With just collaborations, we've done some things with the Washington Saxophone Quartet, which is unusual. They've done arrangements instead of hiring a whole orchestra, the Washington Saxophone Quartet has done arrangements of -- they did the Stravinsky "Symphony of Psalms," for example, which was very unusual and very cool. You know.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Yeah, it was, it was.

JAYNE: We've had Jackie Horner from Anonymous Four do two concerts, which has been very good. And we did a program of Bulgarian folk music with Slaveya, which is a Bulgarian folk group here in town. So that was interesting. We've done a bunch of commissions. We did for the tenth anniversary a commission with Leo Nestor which is a -- he's a composer and teacher at Catholic University. And we've done two commissions with Kevin Siegfried who's a Boston composer. The most recent was last year in June. A cantata that he wrote called "Child of Earth," celebrating Fred's tenth anniversary.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: So, that's been pretty special. And, then, the other thing that we've done kind of specializing in terms of this wide range of things has been a series now -- I don't think it was planned as a series. It becomes a series after you've done a bunch of them and then you go back and look and you say I guess we're doing a series.


JAYNE: And that's of St. John, of liturgies of St. John Chrysostom, which is the principal liturgy of the Orthodox church. So, it's basically the church service, the principal church service in the Orthodox faith. And in Orthodox -- two things: One is Orthodox services are all a capella. There are just no instruments involved, there's no organ, there are no instruments involved. So, it's all sung, it's all voice is the first thing. And then the other thing is that in Orthodox churches -- there are independent Orthodox churches of different countries around the Orthodox faith.


JAYNE: So there's a Russian Orthodox church and a Greek, and so forth. And, so, this becomes an opportunity of exploring the same liturgy but written by composers from different nationalities and reflecting the different nationalities. So, you can -- you'll have the same text basically but different composers from different groups. So, we've had done so far two Russian Orthodox settings, one by Rachmaninoff and one by Tchaikovsky. In June 2010 we did a setting by the Georgian Zacharia Paliashvili and then coming up this June we're doing a setting by the Serbian Steven Mokranjac. And I don't think of any other chorus that I know of as doing -- does either liturgies in a series like that or liturgies combined with a program of vocal jazz in December . . .


JAYNE: . . . and the Mozart Requiem in March. It's a pretty remarkable kind of thing.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Why do you think the Chorale has ended up sort of gravitating towards the St. John's, the Slavic and Russian music? How is that?

JAYNE: I don't know. I think part of it is that there are some people in the Chorale who have interests in Russian and Slavic material.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Including you.

JAYNE: Including myself. [interviewer laughs] And others.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: And others. I think that's part of it. And I think part of it is just that there's something in the sound of the Chorale that feels comfortable in that rich and sort of deeper sonority that's associated with that music, that other groups aren't. And I don't think it was planned. It wasn't planned, it just sort of happened. But I've always sort of felt a certain comfort level in the Chorale singing that material.


JAYNE: It just sort of seems to set into place quicker than lots of other stuff, for example. I mean when we did the Beethoven Ninth Symphony, I mean, it was great. But I just didn't feel the same kind of comfort level that it was kind of in our . . .


JAYNE: . . . DNA somehow or something . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: As Fred says sometimes. Yeah.

JAYNE: . . . that this stuff, you know, kind of does.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And has the growing interest in that -- I mean, has that kind of paralleled your own musical interests? I mean as far as exploring that kind of music yourself and composition or . . .

JAYNE: Yeah. I mean I think there's maybe only one or two Orthodox people in the Chorale. So, there's none of us really who are coming at this with any kind of personal kind of thing.


JAYNE: But just kind of are interested in the, kind of, the -- just because it's interesting and beautiful. And I've gotten more  -- I got particularly involved in the Paliashvili project which was a kind of odd kind of a funny set of circumstances. My partner, Thea Austen, who is a Russian speaker and interested in Russian things, had talked to the head of Musica Russica, which is the largest Russian publication company in the U. S. and asked if there was any settings of the Georgian liturgy, of the St. John liturgy by a Georgian. And Vladimir Morosan who is head of it said yes, he had a copy and it wasn't written but he had made a Xerox of a copy that he'd found. And there was a recording but it was in Russian by a Russian group and we heard the recording and it was beautiful. But when we asked for the score, you know, he sent us the only thing available, which is this Xerox copy that he had.

And so it became a project to translate that into something that people could sing actually. And that kind of launched the whole project of rediscovering this piece which hadn't been performed at all ever since 1912 or whenever it was sort of originally performed. There isn't really a record of when it was performed in Georgia. And we have a copy of the only edition, which was the one done in Georgia in 1910 we think, roughly. That's the Xerox of the Xerox of the microfilm that we have.


JAYNE: And that's all there is. So, researching this became kind of a wonderful, kind of historical research project that for me became really kind of fascinating. And the interesting thing now is that there's plans to revisit that piece coming up in 2013, June of 2013, and recording it.


JAYNE: Doing a recording of it after the regular Chorale season is over. Just dedicating a month to relearning it and recording it in a recording, appropriate recording, you know, with all of the recording bells and whistles, and so forth.

JUNE-FRIESEN: So, now another recording will exist potentially.

JAYNE: Yeah. But the only one in Georgian. Because the only one there is is in -- and stuff.


JAYNE: So, right now the plan is that Fred and I are flying to Georgia . . .


JAYNE: . . . in middle of June and going on a tour with a local expert there, visiting various sites around Georgia, visiting monasteries and hearing the old liturgical music in Georgia in preparation for this recording project that we've got coming up.


JAYNE: So, that's going to be, I think, pretty exciting.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And that sort of points to -- obviously you are the founder of the Capitol Hill Chorale but you've kind of stayed . . . We have a Board now, obviously, but you've kind of stayed in some leadership roles.

JAYNE: Yeah. The Chorale is different than most chorales. Most choruses were started by a guy who wanted to conduct a chorus and didn't have one. [both laugh] So, he started one and led it, and so forth. And then there's always the issue about, you know, succession and so forth and so on. And that's pretty much the pattern. This one is different because it's really more kind of a cooperative of people who are participating in it. It's very important, as we've defined kind of our mission and how we want to organize it, it's very important what the singer experience is and that . . .


JAYNE: . . . that people are enjoying that and not only in a musical way but in a social way as well. It's very important for us to be part of the Capitol Hill community and to do what we can to identify with the Capitol Hill community as much as possible. We always rehearse here. We've always performed here with one exception, when we did a collaboration with the Alexandria Choral Society. We did one performance with them in Alexandria. But, other than that, we've always performed here. Different churches on the Hill, St. Peter's, St. Joe's, Reformation, Presbyterian. We did one concert at Methodist. We did one concert at Unity up on A Northeast. But to maintain our close association with the community. And, so, I have stayed involved and try to sort of keep a -- you know look after the well being, you know, in a sort of indirect way, but maintain a kind of a, a little bit of a historical view and a long term view on things. But, there is a separate Board with separate presidents and so forth.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Made up of singers.

JAYNE: Made up of singers. And there's a community . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: And community members.

JAYNE: And some community members, as well. And that's been very successful, the organization of it. And we've very much avoided the problems that people have had, other groups. CHAW had it, for example. The Capitol Hill Choral Society had it. Which is, transitioning from when the founder leaves or moves on, what happens next. Or how do you transition beyond the founder, even if the founder doesn't leave but everybody else wants to move on?


JAYNE: How do you make that happen? And it's been important that that not be an issue with the Chorale. And I think we've done that very successfully. And, so, the Chorale right now is very healthy in all respects. Musically it's healthy, financially it's very healthy, and in terms of singer support and, I think, community support it's very healthy. So.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Yeah. I'm curious since the beginning how you've seen sort of the composition of the choir change and, you know, the extent to which people have been involved outside of, you know, the choir as friends, or other social activities. And, you know, the ages of people who are involved. I mean, how have you seen that?

JAYNE: Well, I mean, there's a group -- mostly in the bass section -- there's a group of men who are now all in their 60s and 70s who have been around for a long time. [interviewer laughs] So, that's one kind of component. And that's nice because these are people, you know, who have sung together for almost 20 years . . .


JAYNE: . . . and that's a nice thing. Among women, there's been more turnover. But there's still a corps of women who have been there. But it's provided a very welcoming, I think, presence for people who are arriving new to the Hill, maybe just out of college or just recently out of college. And, so, that's been a welcoming thing and we work hard to try to make that kind of feeling so that if you're new or you're old, it doesn't really matter. I think we've tried to work hard about that. And we've tried to work hard, I think, to try to make the social aspect of it -- I say social and I mean the non-musical.


JAYNE: For some people the Chorale is their principal social relationship.


JAYNE: We've had three or four marriages in the Chorale.


JAYNE: We've had a couple of babies.


JAYNE: You know, and so those are fun and nice things to have.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right. And regular get-togethers, such as what used to be Hawk and Dove after choir.

JAYNE: [laughs] Right, right. Yeah.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And things like that. So.

JAYNE: And the singers sort of get together. There's a group that goes once a month out to dinner together. We're going through restaurants alphabetically by country. So, I can't remember what A was and B I can't remember either. [interviewer laughs] C was Chile and Chinese. And D was Dominican. And I think E is coming up. So, anyway, they do that. So that's nice. We went out to hear David Jellema, our cornet player friend, play a concert, a gig out in the suburbs. All of us went out to do that. A bunch of the Chorale went down and sang the National Anthem for the . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oh, right, that just happened.

JAYNE: . . . for the Nationals, for the Nats recently. Those kind of activities are, you know, important to us and we try to keep that going and make sure that everybody's invited and free to participate.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right. Well, is there anything else you want to say about the Chorale or should we move on to Eastern Market music . . .

JAYNE: I think just Eastern . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: . . . so that your voice stays with you.

JAYNE: I know. I'm sorry I'm running out of voice.

JUNE-FRIESEN: No. Do you want to take a break and get more water? Or . . .

JAYNE: Sure.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Yeah. Why don't we do that just so . . . [sound on tape stops.]

Okay. All right, so, let's talk now about the Eastern Market fire of 2007 and then what happened after that. So . . .

JAYNE: Well, the fire was a big event in the life of Capitol Hill. I mean the Eastern Market is really -- I mean it's been described sort of as the soul of the Hill or the heart of the Hill or something. And for generations people have gone there on weekends to do their shopping or during the week to do their shopping. At Thanksgiving, everybody goes and gets their turkey at Melvin's [Melvin Inman at Market Poultry] and it's just a sort of a real cornerstone for kind of how everybody operates on the Hill. And the building had been kind of decaying over the years and there'd been lots of proposals to do various things to fix it and lots of committees. And, of course, everybody disagreed and nothing really much had happened. And, so, in April of 2007 there was a fire which pretty much gutted it. And it was a huge shock to people. I went over that morning.

JUNE-FRIESEN: How did you hear about it? That it had happened?

JAYNE: I can't remember. But it was on the news probably.

JUNE-FRIESEN: But it spread quickly. Yeah.

JAYNE: Yeah.

JUNE-FRIESEN: So you went over that morning.

JAYNE: Yeah. And Mayor Fenty was there. And the firemen were still there, knocking holes in the roof, and it was pretty kind of devastating. But the city, to its credit, eternal credit as far as I'm concerned, and Mayor Fenty, to his eternal credit, rallied quickly and promised that it would be rebuilt. And the first thing they did was to erect a temporary market, which was on the east side of Seventh Street, and put up a temporary building and moved all of the vendors from inside the Market over to there. But a lot of issues made it complicated, mostly because people thought, well, the building had burned down and therefore there's no reason to go to Eastern Market anymore.


JAYNE: Just a sort of general perception. So, it was one thing to move everybody over there but it was another thing to attract people to Eastern Market to be their customers, because everybody assumed that there was no point, no vendors, no reason to go. That was one thing. And then the other thing was just financially keeping the vendors going during this period. You know, most of them probably don't have a lot of cash for cash flow.


JAYNE: And it's just difficult. And the community rallied enormously and raised -- I've forgotten the number now, but it's in the high six figures, to . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: There was a group organized to raise money for the vendors. [ed: Capitol Hill Community Foundation agreed to accept funds donated to help support the Market merchants.]

JAYNE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. To raise money for the vendors and to put up signage and to just generally just kind of try to keep things going. And the kind of focal person on this was Gary Peterson, and a lot of people behind him but Gary became kind of the focal person on that. So, in June of 2007 or actually in May of 2007, a month sort of later, I went over to Eastern Market and I'm handing out postcards for the concert, or the Chorale concert in June of 2007. And I'm standing on the corner and Gary's there. They're making up t-shirts to sell to support the Market and so forth. And so Gary and I get into a conversation and he said you know it would be -- the big issue then was that everybody thought that the Market was closed and there was not traffic anymore. Nobody was going to come to the Market.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Even though there was the flea market on the weekends? People still thought that was maybe not happening or . . .

JAYNE: I can't remember. I mean I was there on the weekend and there was traffic certainly, but . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Not as much.

JAYNE: But not as much.


JAYNE: And, so, Gary and I were standing around handing out my postcards and he's selling t-shirts and we got into a conversation that it would be great to have, you know, some kind of thing to attract people to come to the Hill, some reason, make it a destination, some reason to come.


JAYNE: You know, like music. And Gary knows a great deal about music. He's quite a music person. So, we talked about different things and, so, the idea of doing kind of a music series came up. And I thought well that's interesting and so I went away. And I talk with Thea, my partner, on what's involved. She's involved in producing concerts for the Library of Congress in the Folklife Division, American Folklife Center. And so she has experience in that and what's involved and what would it take and so forth. And it seemed like doable and a kind of good idea and so forth. So, I sort of thought how much it would take and what would be involved. In any rate, a couple of weeks later we met with Nicky Cymrot [President of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation] at her house, Nicky and Gary Peterson and Thea and myself. And I'd put a kind of proposal together and kind of what I thought it was going to cost and so forth. And they agreed. And then I came out and then I thought "Hmm, I guess we have to do it now." [laughs]

JUNE-FRIESEN: I have to organize this.

JAYNE: You know, writing up the proposal is one thing. We have to do it. So, one of the great instances of serendipity then occurred. Which was, we went down that afternoon -- we almost went from Nicky's house -- down to the Mall to the Folklife Festival.


JAYNE: The folk festival. So this is June.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Smithsonian Folklife Festival, mm-hmm.

JAYNE: Yeah. Smithsonian. Yeah. And, so, I went into some tent and I'm listening to somebody and there is Donna Fletcher who lives on the Hill and I've known. She was Miss Hannigan in one of the Annies.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right. [laughs]

JAYNE: Her daughter was Annie and so forth in one of the productions. And I've known Donna through some of the other CHAW musical things that we've done. And Donna's a very involved person in the folk music scene and in the blues scene in Washington. And has spent a great deal of time involved in the Washington Folk Festival that's put on by the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, FSGW, which is held in June every year, two day event, out at Glen Echo. It's not the Smithsonian thing on the Mall, it's the local thing.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, it's the local.

JAYNE: And she's been one of the producers of it. And, so, she's been in touch with all these performers for a number of years of all of the blues and acoustic players sort of around Washington. So, I sit down and -- I didn't really know, I mean, I knew she was sort of involved, but I didn't know how much exactly. But I got into this conversation with her at the thing and she said, "This is great." And I said, "I'd love for you to be involved." And she said, "I'd love to be involved and that's terrific and let's start right away." So, I said, well, you know, start and see what -- you know let's go ahead, make some contacts, and see what we can get going and so forth. And it so happened that Thea and I went out of town on a trip.


JAYNE: Sort of at that point we were going to be gone for ten days or a week or something, or ten days. And after -- it was a sailing trip.


JAYNE: And so, we were gone on a sailboat away and I got to shore and the Internet about a week later. This is up in Nova Scotia. And I got on the Internet, you know, a week later. It's probably now been two weeks since I talked to Donna initially. Or three weeks maybe since I talked to Donna. And, so, I get this email from her and Donna has arranged an entire series already. [interviewer laughs] It's all set. And I was . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: You have the right friends.

JAYNE: And I looked -- I saw the email today, I've saved it. And I looked at it today, again, and it was just astonishing to me. But almost from zero, you know, we're done, in three weeks. [interviewer laughs] So, the series started in July, that first series started in July. And I think it went -- I can't remember -- maybe ten weeks, something like that.


JAYNE: And it pulled in the basically acoustic blues, bluegrass, country, jazz, jug band, Celtic, klezmer, all of the kind of folk tradition bands from around Washington that she knew and had worked with for years. And they'd all signed up to do it. And the big support was the Capitol Hill Community Foundation, as it is in so many areas. They underwrote the concert series. So, we started in July and had money from the Community Foundation to pay and Donna went through her contacts and then I talked with the guy at Port City Java and Nicky Cymrot did as well and got use of the plaza there. And we got a tent to put up for the musicians to do it and worked out, you know, all the deals.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And this is Seventh -- the corner of Seventh and I guess . . .

JAYNE: Seventh and North Carolina.

JUNE-FRIESEN: North Carolina, yeah.

JAYNE: Yeah, exactly. And it was really a popular thing. And people sort of began to make it kind of an event and began to plan to come down. We put out posters on the different artists we were bringing in and we really brought in great people I think, thanks to Donna. And we did it for four years. The second, third, and fourth year was -- we divided it up into a spring series, which would have been May and June. July and August are too hot, so we skipped that, and then started again in September through half of October. So, that's how the series in 2008, 2009, and 2010 were. And then by the end of '10 the Market was rebuilt, functioning again and so the purpose of providing a destination had been met and there was no -- the Community Foundation saw other things to put its money towards, which makes perfect sense. And, so. But it was a sort of a serendipitous thing about running into Donna Fletcher at the Folk Festival that day and three weeks later she's got it all organized and ready to go.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And you really saw people gathered around for that on the weekends.

JAYNE: Yeah.


JAYNE: Yeah. As I say, it became really a wonderful sort of destination and I felt sad when it was over in a way, because people would come up and go "Where's the music?" And you know.

JUNE-FRIESEN: I know. People came to expect -- for years you think there'll just be music there.

JAYNE: Yeah, exactly.

JUNE-FRIESEN: When we moved here, I thought "Oh, they always have music here."

JAYNE: They always have music here. Yeah, right, right, exactly.

JUNE-FRIESEN: So, yeah. Well.

JAYNE: But it was -- you know, it was -- maybe, you know, at some other time and -- it's really a case of finding funding, you know, because these are mostly professional musicians . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: So you have to pay them.

JAYNE: . . . who are making a living doing this. And that was the level we wanted to be at. I mean we wanted to be at the level of people who people recognized as being entertainers, musicians who you would go hear, you would make the point of going to hear. And we did that, so I was pleased. It was a good -- it was nice.

JUNE-FRIESEN: And now that the Market's reopened do you feel like, you know, that's been a big relief to everyone around here that it . . .

JAYNE: Yeah. I had a -- last weekend, I mean -- the Market is so such an important kind of thing and it's so vibrant now. Last weekend I went over and because -- I went over to hear Mary Gray talk about her book.


JAYNE: Mary Gray, as everyone knows, at the age of 93 wrote a book about growing up at 301 East Capitol Street, which is across the street from here.


JAYNE: And she was going to give a lecture and I hadn't heard her. I'd read the book. I've read the book but hadn't heard her and so I thought, well, I'll go over and listen. It'll be fun. Well, the first thing that happens when I get over there is there's a brass band playing on the street. They're from Chicago. [interviewer laughs] They're playing at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage that night.


JAYNE: And they're touring around but had to go to Eastern Market.

JUNE-FRIESEN: They're busking.

JAYNE: So, they're there and that's -- I love brass bands and they were terrific, so that was really fun. And I got a chance to talk to them a little bit about where they're from and what they were doing and so forth. So, then I go inside North Hall to hear Mary Gray. Well, turns out there's a literary festival going on . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Right, right.

JAYNE: And North Hall is full of 80 people all of whom live on Capitol Hill and have written books. And I'm going "Whoa!"

JUNE-FRIESEN: I was sorry to miss that.

JAYNE: And, so, that's overwhelming. [interviewer laughs] And I finally did find Mary Gray who just had finished her talk over sort of in a corner. But I did get to talk to her a little bit. Then I go outside -- I've just looked at all the books and then I go outside again and there's sort of street theater going on for some other reason unrelated.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oh, right, there's this citywide arts thing.

JAYNE: Yeah.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Yeah, street theater.

JAYNE: So, there're people on stilts walking up and down. [interviewer laughs] And mime and a juggler going on.



[Voices are heard about three minutes after the start of the tape.]

[A long sigh and the sound of movement around a microphone.]

JUNE-FRIESEN: Let's see if we're registering yet here. I think so. Okay. So you said then you walk down -- your three favorite guys at the Market are . . .

JAYNE: Well, there are three guys who do, I've seen in the subway, who do street corner a capella.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oh, yeah. I've heard -- do-wop type.

JAYNE: Do-wop stuff.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oh, yeah, they're great.

JAYNE: And they're old guys and it's the real deal.


JAYNE: And they're there. So, I had to listen to them for a while. And, of course, all the usual stuff is going on. The flea market guys are in the Hine parking lot area, all of the stuff, you know, that everybody loves is all there. And the vendors are all there and the Market's open and people are everywhere. And I just -- I ran into this friend of mine who was this neighbor on 12th Street who . . . And hadn't seen him for a little bit and so we were just standing chatting and he said what I was feeling also. He said he'd just gotten back from a vacation in Viet Nam and Cambodia and it was very exotic and he was really glad he had gone and seen lots of interesting things and so forth. But he'd come back and he'd been at the Market now for a little bit and he said, you know, I really live in a great place and it gives me kind of new appreciation for what a great place I live in and what a great neighborhood Capitol Hill is. And it was exactly the feeling that I was having. It was kind of this overload of sort of Eastern Marketness or something. [laughs]

JUNE-FRIESEN: Eastern Market love.

JAYNE: Yeah, exactly. From this kind of -- I mean the weather was great.


JAYNE: The Crepe on the Hill guy, who I always try to buy a crepe from . . .

JUNE-FRIESEN: Oh, right, that stand they have. Yeah.

JAYNE: The stand there. That guy. Except there were too many people so I didn't -- I mean, he's overwhelmed. So, I didn't do that, but that's, you know, that's good. He was there. I mean everything. It was just a sort of an abundance of great things going on. It just sort of made me -- it was a feeling both of us were having about feeling lucky to live on the Hill and to be able to share that.

JUNE-FRIESEN: You feel like that's something that's constant? Even though the neighborhood changes, it's obviously, you know, still going through a lot of changes, that this is still . . .

JAYNE: Yeah, yeah. I think -- you know, I mean, things change and who knows what the future is and so forth. But certainly Capitol Hill has abided. I've gotten interested recently and grateful in particular recently to the generation just before me in the 60s. There was a plan as part of the highway system development to put interstate highways through Capitol Hill. And they would have run, the one I -- I went to an exhibition at Union Station that showed the maps of where these things were supposed to go. And you can still see. I mean, they built part of it and you can still see the vestiges of what they had in mind, particularly the one that goes underneath in front of the Capitol and comes out New York Avenue. I mean that was initially -- you were supposed to get on that and drive to Canada. I mean that was [Interstate] 95. You were supposed to be able to drive right straight up. And you couldn't make it to Canada. You had to stop at New York Avenue [Both laugh] now. But that was plan. And there were people who made it -- who stopped it. Local people who stopped it, the generation really in the 60s active here . . .


JAYNE: Who just didn't want to see the historic character of the neighborhood lost. And I've felt increasingly grateful, partly because of having read Mary Gray's book about life on the Hill in the 20s and what that was like. But it became a different place, I think, because of that generation in the 60s, because of the level of civic activism and involvement that grew out of that. Not only the highway system, but there was a plan -- the Architect of the Capitol, I think has had various plans at various times for expansion into the neighborhood and those have been by and large thwarted. And that level of investment and involvement in the neighborhood and retaining the neighborhood and keeping it going, the high level, I think, of respect that the historical preservation people have and the importance that people give to that process I think comes from the same thing. But it's just the right size, I think, Capitol Hill. It's really a village as everybody says, but it's big enough so that there are lots and lots of little circles that go on and so that people have their own interests that they do and then you discover that there's a whole world that you never knew about of people who are involved in something going on. That's really one of the great things. And then the physical beauty of the Hill, I think, and the buildings is a wonderful heritage that we all share.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Are there any things we haven't talked about that you wanted to say anything about?

JAYNE: Oh, Lord.

JUNE-FRIESEN: I think it's been a great interview.

JAYNE: Oh, Lord, let's hope not. [laughs]

JUNE-FRIESEN: But if there were a topic -- I always ask that at the end of an interview.

JAYNE: Right.

JUNE-FRIESEN: So, if you . . . Otherwise, I think we'll conclude then.

JAYNE: That would be great. Thank you.

JUNE-FRIESEN: Sound good?

JAYNE: Katy, thank you.

This interview transcript is the property of the Ruth Ann Overbeck
Capitol Hill History Project. Not to be reproduced without permission.