Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC - VOA's radio magazine in SpecialEnglish.
This is Doug Johnson. On our program today we:
Play some jazz violin music ...
Answer a question about the Washington Monument ...
And learn about something called "wood turning."
Wood Turning Show
The Renwick Gallery in Washington, D-C, has a show called "WoodTurning Since Nineteen-Thirty." It contains one-hundred-thirtyexamples of the best turned wood pieces made in the past seventyyears. Mary Tillotson tells us more about wood turning.
Wood turning first became popular in the United States aboutseventy years ago. At that time, turned wood containers,candlesticks and other useful objects were made by students inschool and by factory workers. Through the years, wood turningbecame a complex art form. Turned wood objects are now collected bymuseums and individuals.Chair legin a lathe
Wood turners use sharp tools tocut a piece of wood as it turns quickly on a special machine calleda lathe. The piece of wood is held firmly and evenly in place on thelathe. The wood turner holds a sharp tool against the turning wood.In traditional pieces, the inner part of the wood is removed,leaving thin outside walls.
p>Because the lathe is turning the wood around, the shape of thefinished piece usually is round. The natural outer bark of the treeusually is removed so the outside of the piece is as smooth as theinside.
Objects of many different shapes are in the Renwick show. Eventhings with similar shapes such as bowls that could be used forserving food look very different because of the color and grain ofthe kind of wood used.
For example, a bowl Bob Stocksdale created out of Macassar ebonywood is simple and very dark. A bowl Ron Kent produced of NorfolkPine has sides that are so thin and light you can see through them.A bowl byRon Kent
David Ellsworth producedcontainers out of the large growths on trees called burls. Hecreated a smooth inner space and left the natural, uneven shape onthe outside. Merryll Saylan used paints and chemicals to color thesurfaces of some of the turned pieces she produced.
Many of the objects in the Wood Turning show are not containerswith empty inner spaces. Some are pieces of useful furniture such aschairs and desks that combine wood pieces that have been shaped onthe lathe. Other turned wood pieces in the Renwick Gallery show arecomplex sculptural pieces that are meant just to be enjoyed as art.
Our VOA listener question this week comes from Cameroon. PiusNgoeh asks about the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.Graphic Image
The Washington Monument is thetallest structure in the city. It stands almost one-hundred-seventymeters tall. It is named for the first President of the UnitedStates, George Washington. Millions of people from around the worldvisit the white stone structure every year.
The monument is a structure called an obelisk. Its four sides endin a point at the top. Fifty American flags surround it. Theyrepresent the fifty states. Lights shine on the Washington Monumentat night. It can be seen from far away. Fireworks are launched fromnear the monument on American Independence Day 鈥?July fourth -- andat other special celebrations.
It took many years to build the Washington Monument. One groupstarted raising money for a memorial in Eighteen-Thirty-Three.Officials placed the first stone of the monument on July fourth,Eighteen-Forty-Eight.
Roman Catholic Church leader Pope Pius the Ninth gave a piece ofmarble from Rome for the monument. But the stone was stolen inEighteen-Fifty-Four. After that, the public almost stopped givingmoney for the structure. Many people believed it would never befinished.
A group called the Know Nothings was suspected of trying to stopthe monument from being built. Finally, in Eighteen-Seventy-Six,Congress voted to pay for building the Washington Monument. It wasfinished in Eighteen-Eighty-Four and opened to the public inEighteen-Eighty-Eight.
The Washington Monument recently re-opened after being closed formore than a year. Officials used that time to make improvements. Newsecurity measures also were added. And a new elevator now carriesvisitors to the observation area on top of the monument. From there,visitors can look out over the capital city.
To learn more about visiting the Washington Monument, listen tothe Special English program THIS IS AMERICA on Monday, Apriltwenty-ninth.
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D-C, is celebratingJazz Appreciation Month. Jazz Appreciation Month is a national andinternational celebration that honors the history and music of jazz.Steve Ember tells us about jazz violin player Regina Carter.
For eighteen years, Regina Carter has entertained people with herunusual command of the violin. Her strong music makes it sound as ifshe is playing with a full orchestra.Graphic Image
Regina Carter says the violin is aperfect instrument for the demands of modern jazz. She says theviolin is designed to play energetic jazz rhythms in the same way itis used to play classical music. Here is Regina Carter playing asong called, "Oh, Lady, Be Good."
("OH, LADY, BE GOOD!")
Regina Carter began playing the violin when she was four yearsold. Her earlier goal was to play with a major orchestra. Jazz wasnot a big part of her life until she heard the music of jazzviolinists Stephane Grapelli and Jean-Luc Ponty. She said there wasa freedom and a possibility in the violin she had not understoodbefore. Here, Regina Carter plays a song with a Latin sound, called"Mojito."
Regina Carter is one of a very few jazz violinists. At first, shefaced opposition to her jazz violin method. People told her therewas no future for a jazz violinist. Mizz Carter says she still hasto prove herself in the jazz world because so many of the musiciansare men.
Regina Carter recently became the first jazz musician and thefirst African American ever to play the two-hundred-fifty-year-oldviolin once owned by Niccolo Paganini. He is considered to be one ofthe greatest violinists of all time. Regina Carter said she neverdreamed she would be given that chance. We leave you now with ReginaCarter playing "Chattanooga Choo Choo."
("CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO")
This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And Ihope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC - VOA'sradio magazine in Special English.
This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Cynthia Kirk, MarilynChristiano and Nancy Steinbach. And our producer was Paul Thompson.