© 2022 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Lone Trumpeter Serenades The National Mall

This summer, Weekend Edition Saturday is listening to the sounds of music al fresco. Today, we present an audio postcard of a trumpeter we recently heard blowing "The Star-Spangled Banner" just down the street from NPR.

It was a steamy afternoon when we found John Thornton on his corner just outside of the National Archives, seated on a plastic bucket. A few beads of sweat could be seen just under his Washington Nationals cap. Buses passed by, a few tourists dropped him some change, and the melodies drifted, from "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" to the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony to, appropriately, "Summertime."

"I played in front of the Empire State once. It was fun. I like a crowd," Thornton says. "Some people play chess — you know, checkers and chess. It's a hobby, and they get real good at it. Same thing with an instrument: You just keep playin' it. You keep doin' it, man, you get good."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make non-profit journalism available for everyone.