Lift Every Voice

The Washington National Opera loses a member of its chorus

All murders are tragedies for families and friends who lose people they love and for communities made uneasy by violence. And some murders, even if we didn’t know the victim personally, make unexpected holes in overlooked folds of the fabric of the city. The shooting of Don Diego Jones in Fort Dupont Park last week is one of those deaths.

Jones may not have been famous, even in Washington. But if you’ve been to the Washington National Opera in the last 14 years, there’s a chance that his voice was part of the chorus. The Washington Post noted yesterday that Jones had been part of the chorus, which changes composition based on the show. He’s had larger roles, too, playing the Crab Man in the opera’s 2005 production of Porgy and Bess, a role he revived in the March 20 to April 3 run of the show this year, and that won him some recognition beyond the Washington area.

Jones didn’t perform only with the opera. He sang on Oprah. He performed an adaptation of the 23rd psalm at Coretta Scott King’s funeral with harpist Jeff Majors—and a clip of that performance (posted above) has become something of a message board for Jones’s friends and family. “Don I will miss you greatly,” wrote commentor youngmafia7. “Your heart was an example to the world. R.I.P. my friend. N.E. D.C. Stand up.” It’s a worthwhile reminder that while the public may miss someone who sings mostly in the chorus, that tapestry of sound wouldn’t exist without the individual voices in it.

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