Don’t Miss This Jazzy Celebration at the Library of Congress

Jazz musician Matthew Whitaker wearing earphones, sunglasses - in front of keyboard piano setI’ve written a post here before about how much I appreciate the free audio book program the Library of Congress provides for people who are blind or have physical disabilities that prevent them from reading print. This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Pratt-Smoot Act, the legislation for the “Books for the Blind” program, and to celebrate, the National Library Service (NLS) is sponsoring a concert.

Jazz musician Matthew Whitaker has been a patron of the NLS music service for many years, and if you’re a fan of television’s 60 Minutes you may recall an episode a year or two ago featuring him on piano. He’s a highly gifted performer, age 19, with a lot of credits so far and a couple of albums out besides.

In normal years, the National Library Service would have held the concert in the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress, with an interview preceding, and a reception to follow. This year is not a normal year, so instead, they’ve pre-recorded the concert and an interview the National Library Service Director Karen Keninger did with Matthew.

Full disclosure: Karen and I got to know each other when we both were in New Jersey training with our Seeing Eye dogs in 2012. She returned home with new dog Jimi that year. I came home with now-retired Seeing Eye dog Whitney and we’ve kept in touch ever since. She is the one who alerted me to this historic anniversary. The celebratory concert streams free of charge on YouTube and the Library of Congress Facebook page at 8:00 pm Eastern Time today, March 3, 2021, and I’ll be tuning in. The interview is available at 8:00 a.m. Eastern on the Library of Congress YouTube channel.

No time to watch right now? No problem! The concert will remain on YouTube for two years, so if you miss it today, you can still catch it later. As Karen says, “If you like jazz, you won’t be disappointed!”


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