Posts Tagged ‘Metropolitan House’

A cappella singers support community through singing

Article by Hai Yu, George Washington University, May 2017

Bill Cline, Music Director, left.

In 1992, D.C.-based economist and a cappella singer Bill Cline was driving by Dupont Circle and was stunned to find many mentally disabled people wandering the streets, homeless. The scene reminded Cline of the impoverished Latin American countries where he had once worked.

In that moment 25 years ago, an idea was born.

Cline and his all-male a cappella group, “Augmented Eight,” would put on a “Sing Out for Shelter” concert in D.C. dedicated to helping the city’s homeless population.

In March, the concert—now in its 25th year—raised more money than ever before. A crowd of 550 concert-goers donated a total of $27,000, which Cline will turn over to the three D.C.-based shelters that he has long supported: Friendship Place, Christ House and Metropolitan House.

“The shelters are the professionals who know how to deal with the complex homeless situation,” said Cline. “We let them do their work to best help the homeless people.”

Despite a $14.8 million increase in funding for homeless services this year, the city’s budget still falls far short of meeting the housing needs of thousands of homeless people and their families, according to The D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute.

Officials at the shelters supported by Cline’s annual concerts said the extra money is critical to their operations.

“The donation helps us fulfill our programs,” said Jean Michel Giraud, president of Friendship Place, where programs including housing, job placement, youth training and outreach are provided to the homeless.

The concert has become so popular in recent years that the mayor’s office sent out a proclamation acknowledging “Augmented Eight’s effort to help the most vulnerable residents in D.C.”

Cline said that when the concerts first began, they drew small crowds in various locations scattered around the city

“We were sort of homeless ourselves,” said Cline. “We have performed at the Gaston Hall of Georgetown University and some small churches.”

The Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church, which has a shelter associated with the church, took the group in 15 years ago. Since then, the concert has become closely associated with the congregation at the church.

This year, a system that allows the group to sell tickets online boosted sales. Information about the concert was also available on the Eventbrite website, a popular site for local event browsing.

The group behind the successful concert are 12 members who include lawyers, physicians, State Department employees and an architect. They reside in D.C., Virginia and Maryland, but come together to sing during weekly rehearsals.


John Symington, President, center

John Symington, the current president and first tenor of “Augmented Eight,” is a former member of Yale’s renowned all-male a cappella group, “The Whiffenpoofs,” and was introduced to “Augmented Eight” at a “Whiffenpoofs” concert.

Besides the benefit concert, the group practices for an annual “Spring Sing” concert festival put on by the American A Cappella Alliance, a nonprofit organization promoting a cappella ensemble singing of all styles of popular music.

Symington said his recent favorite songs are “Who You Are” and “Oh Shenandoah.”

“Asking me what’s my favorite song is like asking a 100-year-old what’s his favorite pie,” said Symington. “I enjoy the song I am singing the most.”


Augmented 8 Sent Congratulations from District Mayor Muriel Bowser

The Augmented 8
25th Annual Sing Out for Shelter Concert
March 4, 2017

As Mayor of the District of Columbia, it is my pleasure to extend greetings and congratulation to The Augmented 8 on the occasion of your 25th Annual Sing Out for Shelter Concert.

This is a significant milestone for The Augmented 8. For twenty-five years, this annual event has raised funds to help organizations in the District to provide services to our homeless.

I thank each of you for your contribution that has helped to enrich the quality of life of our most vulnerable residents.

I join the residents of the District of Columbia in wishing you a memorable event.

Muriel Bowser
Mayor, District of Columbia

Mayoral Proclamation, March 2017

Sing Out for Shelter 2017


Sing Out for Shelter 2017

Concert to Benefit the Fight Against
Homelessness in Greater Washington, D.C.

Saturday, March 4, 8:00 PM

Metropolitan Memorial United
Methodist Church

View Map

Featuring our guests:

The Princeton Tigertones
The Vassar Devils
Washington Waldorf School “Knightlights”
with a suprise performance by

The Whiffenpoofs of Yale


Eventbrite - A Cappella Groups Sing Out for Shelter Sat March 4th to Help DC's Homeless!!


Tickets available at the door or online from our Eventbrite link above:

Please click here even if you can’t come but would like to donate.

The 25th Annual Sing Out for Shelter (SOS) concert to benefit organizations that serve homeless men and women is organized by the Augmented Eight, a non-profit, men’s a cappella singing group which has performed for Washington audiences for over 60 years. This year’s concert of a cappella vocal music will once again benefit three local organizations that serve the more than 30,000 individuals who experience homelessness each year in the Greater Washington DC Region – Friendship PlaceChrist House, and MMUMC’s own Metropolitan House.

These concerts have raised nearly $240,000 over the past twenty-three years.  In October, 2010, Friendship Place honored the Augmented Eight with the 13th annual Benjamin E. Cooper Award recognizing outstanding contributions by members of the Washington DC community to the cause of ending homelessness.

The Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church is located at 3401 Nebraska Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20016, on the corner of New Mexico Ave and Nebraska Ave, across Nebraska Ave from the American University.  Free parking is available in the church lot or across Nebraska Ave in the underground garage of the AU School of International Service. All of the recipient organizations of SOS are 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations, and each will receive one-third (1/3) of the value of each ticket or donation.  Your contribution above the amount of any value you receive will be exempt from federal income taxation.



Augmented 8

The Augmented Eight is an all male a cappella group that has entertained Washington audiences for over 60 years with a blend of old standards and modern pop, with a bit of jazz, gospel, and doo wop arrangements.



Princeton Tigertones

Founded in 1946, the Tigertones are Princeton University’s signature a cappella group. For over sixty-five years the Tones have sought to maintain a culture of good friends and good music, bringing this spirit to audiences across the globe.

The life of a Tigertone is one of camaraderie, adventure, and musical excellence. The group begins every year with a week in Bermuda and sings in places like Rio de Janeiro, Beijing, Paris, Carnegie Hall and the White House during the year.



Vassar Devils

The Vassar Devils are a co-ed a cappella group from Vassar College, formed in the fall of 1987. Last year, they toured in California, sang for President Obama at the White House, and won the Boston Sings A Cappella Festival. In 2015, they were Northeast Regional Champions in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. They have just released their newest album, Coming Alive. Their music is available on YouTube, Spotify, and iTunes. Find them online at




Christ House: A full-care health recovery facility for the sick and  homeless in the Washington, DC area, Christ House serves as a place of refuge  and healing. Since opening in 1985, Christ House has served over 4,800  homeless men and women. Suffering from an array of illnesses and  injuries including diabetes, cancer, and AIDS, patients at Christ House  receive 24-hour health care as well as a full range of social services. The  goal is for patients to leave Christ House with a new sense of hope and  dignity and live independently in the community. For further  information: 202-328-1100;

Friendship Place is a leader in Washington, D.C., in developing and implementing solutions to homelessness that have positive, demonstrable results and a lasting impact. Friendship Place offers the most effective model for addressing adult homelessness, with innovative, customized, person-focused programs that empower participants to rebuild their lives, find homes, get jobs and reconnect with friends, family and the community, permanently. Programs include street outreach, hospitality, free medical and psychiatric services, job placement, case management, transitional shelter, permanent supportive housing, and specialized services for Veterans and their families. For further information: 202-503-2963;

Metropolitan House: Metropolitan Church operates two residential housing programs – Metropolitan House located in the Metropolitan Memorial building and St. Luke’s House located at the St. Luke’s Mission Center on Calvert Street. Both provide shelter to homeless individuals who are working with Friendship Place’s AimHire program. St. Luke’s House and Metropolitan House were two of the first shelters to open in upper Northwest DC, and over the past twenty-five years they have provided safe, stable, and secure living environments that have empowered hundreds and hundreds of men to move beyond homelessness toward self-sufficiency, employment, and permanent housing. In 2015, Metropolitan House shifted its focus from serving men and now houses women. Both programs emphasize independent living and have expanded from the older night-shelter model of “in- by- 7am-out-by- 7pm” to offer residents 24-hour-a-day access. This accommodates the varied schedules of those who are working or seeking employment. For more information call 202-363-4900 or visit

All of the beneficiaries of SOS are 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations, and each will receive one-third (1/3) of the value of each ticket or donation. Your contribution above the amount of any value you receive will be exempt from federal income taxation.

Location: Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church 3401 Nebraska Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016

Copyright 2000-2017 The Washington Society for Close Harmony Singing, Inc., T/A
The Augmented 8, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, chartered in Washington, DC.

SOS 2016 • SOS 2015 • SOS 2014 • SOS 2013

Copyright © 2018 The Augmented Eight · This project powered by