- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

At the Congressional Arts Breakfast Tuesday, politicians, with the help of songbirds Josh Groban and Linda Ronstadt, made beautiful music together to raise awareness and funding for arts education.

Mr. Groban and Miss Ronstadt were scheduled to testify after the breakfast at a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the arts.

“I’m not singing much these days,” Miss Ronstadt told The Washington Times. “I’m 62,” she confided, chalking her singing reticence up to age. (There goes the Ronstadt cover of the AARP magazine.)

Meanwhile, Mr. Groban, her 28-year-old co-guest of honor, said not to fret because “a little birdie tells me she’ll be singing again.” What song would the young crossover music star like to sing with the Grammy Award winner? Paul Simon’s “Under African Skies.”

Promoting art and music as “economic engines,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, confessed that despite his appreciation for music, he has some trouble carrying a tune.

“I tried to sing my first girlfriend one of Linda’s songs,” he recalled. “She dumped me the same night.”

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, Mr. Schumer’s colleague from New York, was more confident. “My first ambition was to be a blues singer. Linda and I did a few duets together, but she didn’t know it,” she said, tongue firmly in cheek.

Taking issue with New Yorkers always bragging about their city being the “cultural capital of the world,” Sen. Tom Udall, New Mexico Democrat, said, “I think Schumer forgot about Santa Fe.”

The Times also caught up with Mr. Groban’s parents, Jack and Lindy Groban, who flew in from California to see their son testify.

The senior Mr. Groban told us that their other son Chris, 24, is studying to be a filmmaker.

So there is something to be said for arts education. Mrs. Groban was an arts teacher, they said.

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