Tower Talks from Washington National Cathedral
A Conversation with Chris Budny, Docent and Artist

A Conversation with Chris Budny, Docent and Artist

June 23, 2020

Hello, and welcome back to Tower Talks. This episode of Tower Talks is going to be a little different. If you are part of the Cathedral community, then you have likely heard about the recent changes the Cathedral has had to undertake due to the on-going challenges brought forth by COVID-19. Dean Randy penned a letter explaining the path forward, which can be found here for you to read: https://cathedral.org/press-room/dean-hollerith-covid-19-closures-mean-changes-for-the-cathedral/

Unfortunately, given these circumstances, this will be the last episode of Tower Talks for the time being. No matter what happens in the future, we wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for listening in to these conversations and for supporting this project that we’ve put so much love into. It has been an absolute joy to bring this podcast to life and to share it with you these past few months.

We could not imagine a more wonderful guest for this episode than Chris Budny, a long-time docent at the Cathedral with a deep love for architecture, building arts and photography. We spoke with Chris about his path towards the Cathedral, what he loves about the building, and the ways in which the Cathedral has challenged him both as a docent and as an artist in the last two decades. Chris is a genuinely kind, funny guy who clearly loves the Cathedral, and we hope you enjoy our conversation as much as we enjoyed talking to him.

Building the Cathedral with Patrick Plunkett

Building the Cathedral with Patrick Plunkett

June 17, 2020

In this week's episode of Tower Talks, we're talking to Patrick Plunkett, one of the stone carvers who quite literally helped build the Cathedral. Patrick joined the carving crew at the Cathedral in 1975 and stayed there until its completion in 1990, working on some of the Cathedral’s most prominent architectural features under the supervision of master carvers Roger Morigi and his successor, Vincent Palumbo. The stories he has to tell are equal parts fascinating, hilarious and personal, and it was truly a pleasure to get to speak to him. We hope you enjoy this week's episode of Tower Talks!

Sculptor and Artist Jay Hall Carpenter

Sculptor and Artist Jay Hall Carpenter

June 9, 2020

Welcome to this week's episode of Tower Talks! In today’s episode, we’re talking to Jay Hall Carpenter – a sculptor and artist who has contributed a great number of gargoyles, grotesques and other sculptures to the Cathedral, though as I learned from talking to him, that exact number is up for debate. You probably know his most well-known contribution, the Darth Vader grotesque, but his work can be found throughout the Cathedral and all around the DC and Maryland area! Jay is also our first artist to be featured on the podcast, so we were particularly thrilled to connect with him for a conversation. Please enjoy this week's episode of Tower Talks!

Docent and Congregation Member Dora Currea

Docent and Congregation Member Dora Currea

June 3, 2020

Hello, and welcome back to Tower Talks! This week, we're talking to Dora Currea - a docent and active member of the Cathedral's congregation. While Dora is one of our newer docents, her love of history, architecture and religious studies shines through in everything she does - and she certainly knows her stuff! We loved talking to her about her love for the Cathedral, both the physical space and the community it serves and represents. Speaking of serving the community - please join us for our upcoming Pack the Truck food and baby items drive on June 10th and 11th, 2020! We've partnered with the Capital Area Food Bank and the Emergency Child Care Initiative to distribute these items to folks who need them. For more information visit https://cathedral.org/event/food-drive-3/2020-06-10/. Thank you!

Outside the Pulpit: Dean Randy Hollerith

Outside the Pulpit: Dean Randy Hollerith

May 26, 2020

In this week's episode of Tower Talks, we're talking to Dean Randy Hollerith - one of the most prominent voices of the Cathedral in its current era, and almost certainly someone you've heard speak before! In this conversation, though, we had a chance to talk to Randy as Randy - delving into his background and life-long connections to the Cathedral, sharing stories of what he loves about his work and generally getting to know him outside the pulpit. Please join us for this very special episode of Tower Talks!

All in the Family: A Conversation with Andy Seferlis

All in the Family: A Conversation with Andy Seferlis

May 19, 2020

Welcome back to Tower Talks! In this week's episode, we're talking to Andy (aka Clift) Seferlis - a longtime Cathedral docent and tour guide around DC. Andy has a particularly interesting understanding of the Cathedral - his parents met and worked there, and he grew up with the Cathedral as his playground. We caught up with Andy to talk about the ways in which the Cathedral fits into the cultural history of DC and American history at large - as well as his own background, what he loves about the Cathedral and what he's up to now. Please enjoy this week's episode of Tower Talks!

Cathedral Organist George Fergus

Cathedral Organist George Fergus

May 12, 2020

While you may not have seen this week's Tower Talks guest, you have certainly heard his work before - George Fergus serves the Cathedral as Assistant Organist, playing for worship services, accompanying the Cathedral choir and demonstrating the organ to visitors twice a week when the building is open. He is also "famous" for a few fun and silly YouTube appearances - most notably, playing "Baby Shark" to cheer on the Nationals baseball team during their World Series run! We caught up with George about his background, path to the Cathedral and favorite things about the organ and the building in this episode of Tower Talks.

Getting to Know Greeter Fran Trotter Bellinger

Getting to Know Greeter Fran Trotter Bellinger

May 5, 2020

Welcome back to Tower Talks! In this week's episode, we're talking to Francel Trotter Bellinger - who we all know as Fran. Fran is a long-time Greeter with us, who also recently started volunteering with our LEGO project! Fran has a long personal history with the Cathedral, and the National Cathedral School for Girls, that truly exemplifies the ways in which the Cathedral can exist as both a grand public institution as well as a place of deep personal resonance. Please enjoy this week's episode of Tower Talks!

Ask a Docent: Camille Hersh

Ask a Docent: Camille Hersh

April 28, 2020

In this week's episode of Tower Talks, we're talking to Camille Hersh - a docent who brings an extensive and diverse background to her work at the Cathedral. With a background in education and religious studies with a career in the intelligence community, Camille is particularly good at finding the connections between the Cathedral's craftwork and the many stories being told throughout the building. Join us as we talk about all the little things that make the Cathedral such a rich tapestry of story-telling!

Up on the Heights with Stonemason Joe Alonso

Up on the Heights with Stonemason Joe Alonso

April 21, 2020

Welcome back to Tower Talks! In this week's episode, we're talking to Joe Alonso, Washington National Cathedral's Head Stonemason. Joe has been with the Cathedral for 35 years and literally placed the final stone on the Cathedral in 1990. He talked aboutwhat stone masons actually do, the 2011 Earthquake that caused so much damage and so much more.