A photo of the Carl Cornwell Quartet at Loaves and Fishes.
Angelyn Whitehurst

“Jazz and poetry to move the heart and soul” best describes the fundraiser sponsored by St. Stephen’s Church last month to benefit the Loaves and Fishes Soup Kitchen.

From 1960 to present, Loaves and Fishes has filled the gap of feeding people on the weekends and on federal holidays. After all —  hungry people, poor people and lonely people must survive. And most programs are Monday to Friday. All are welcome at 1525 Newton St. NW, regardless of race, color or creed. And all who want to do something can drop in as guest volunteers or make donations.

Musical notes and words composed into poetry melded as one wonderful event on October 22nd at the Thurgood Marshall Center. Opening with inspiring remarks was Linda Kaufman, Assistant Priest at St. Stephen’s Church. She was followed by jazz sets from the Carl Cornwell Quartet and dynamic young poets: Salihah “Sasa” Aakil (age thirteen) and Eric Powell; poets from Words, Life & Beats accompanied by Lauren Bullock; and one poet, me, from Street Sense.


Angelyn Whitehurst

Sasa Aakil | Photo by Angie Whitehurst

The poetry was a flowing experience in what it’s like to be homeless and how it feels. There were many moving pleas to be aware of what you think, feel  and do.

The music rekindled the feeling of ole time D.C.,  in the days when jazz was everywhere. The Carl Cornwell Quartet was extraordinary: Bob Butta on piano; Tony Green on drums, Pepe Gonzalez on Bass and Carl Cornwell on sax. The late Tony Duncanson  was remembered in spirit, with a red hat over the microphone (in memory of the percussionist).

Spellbound, we all listened to “Here’s Rain Day, Stable Mates by Benny Goldson, and Blue and Green by Bill Evans. Members of the quartet have performed with Pharaoh Saunders Band and Gil Scott Heron. Carl Cornwell has a personal commitment to homelessness and hunger. He has served with and volunteered with Laurel Advocacy and Referral Services in Maryland as well as So Others Might Eat (SOME) in the District. When a coworker told him about helping St. Stephen’s, with a fundraiser, it was a no brainer.

We must thank Denize Stanton-Williams, program manager/coordinator for St. Stephen’s Loaves and Fishes program — along with her outstanding team of talented professionals and volunteers: Khadija Jordan, Brother Johnson, Dee and Tony.

The power and the ability of those who give, care, share and do something is amazing!