Metro Weekly

Band Camp

D.C.'s Different Drummers fuse concert and drag show, take two

DC's Different Drummers: Symphonic Band

DC’s Different Drummers: Symphonic Band

(Photo by Rob Mesite)

Have you ever seen classical musicians lip-synch to pop songs – in drag?

”You’re seeing members doing things you would never think you should see them do,” jokes Rob Heim, a trombonist with D.C.’s Different Drummers. For the second year in a row, Heim has organized a fundraiser where about 20 band members, both men and women, perform as drag kings and queens.

And for the second year in a row – and only his second time ever – Heim will be among them, donning drag to perform as Beyoncé.

The organization didn’t just start ”DCDD Does Drag” last year to show that it’s supportive of both high and low culture. It was specifically meant as a fundraiser for the organization. After raising more than $1,200 with its debut, this year’s goal is $3,000.

One week prior — this Saturday, Nov. 5, to be specific — DCDD’s Capital Pride Symphonic Band focuses its annual fall concert on a much grander notion, ”Architects of Music.”

DCDD’s director Joe Bello says the theme touches on both the traditional, physical meaning of the term ”architecture” as well as on the idea that ”composers are architects in their own way.” The National Building Museum’s Martin Moeller will help further connect the musical and architectural dots as the concert’s guest emcee. Bello will lead the 75-piece band in architecturally minded pieces by Bach, Respighi, Kenneth Alford and Frank Ticheli.

Even Bello’s middle school band teacher will take part. Nancy Plantinga will guest conduct Eric Whitacre’s ”Sleep” at the invitation of Bello. ”Without her pushing me,” Bello says about Plantinga, ”I would have probably never chosen music for a career.”

DCDD’s ”Architects of Music” is Saturday, Nov. 5, at 8 p.m. ‘CHEC Auditorium at the Columbia Heights Educational Center, 3101 16th St. NW. Tickets are $20. ”DCDD Does Drag Too!!” is Sunday, Nov. 13, at 7 p.m., at Omega, 2122 P St. NW. Suggested donation is $5. Call 202-403-3669 or visit

Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly.