At the end of World War II Washington was still in essence a small Southern city, a long way from today’s world capital. The National Symphony was little more than a dance band and the only major arts institutions were Dumbarton Oaks and the Phillips Collection. Concerts took place at Constitution Hall and the Coolidge Auditorium at the Library of Congress. This placed the Cathedral, Paul, and Wayne at the center of the city’s cultural life, and through the 50s and 60s everything done there received an enthusiastic reception from both press and public.
Beyond the usual round of concerts and dramas at the Cathedral, Wayne made two distinct contributions to DC public life. The first was composing and directing the music for Faith of our Fathers, written for the DC Sesquicentennial in 1950. A two-and-a-half hour patriotic extravaganza, the show ran at the Carter Barron Amphitheater in Rock Creek Park for two summers, receiving drastic (and apparently much-needed) revision in 1951. A choral/orchestral Suite continued to be used in the DC area through the 50s.
The second was patriotic as well. The American Adventure was presented as an attraction during the Bicentennial year and ran for 18 months in dual theaters located in the basement of the Earle Warner Theater at 12th and E Streets, N. W. The audience of 140 sat facing a slightly concave screen twelve feet high and thirty-six feet wide, divided into twelve six-by-six foot squares upon which were projected several thousand slides and occasional film. The fifty-minute show ran on the half-hour, alternating theaters, from 10 am to 9 pm. William Conrad did the narration, and a suite of excerpts from the score would be a nice addition to Fourth of July concerts.