Union Market Hosts Gospel Choir Brunch

A typical Saturday afternoon in D.C. might look this: A jog through the downtown Historic District, a bike ride down the National Mall and a stroll through the parks or Smithsonian museums. Located just northeast of the Capitol is a warehouse market packed with the finest local food artisan and entrepreneur vendors.

Re-opened in September 2012 by EDENS, one of the nation’s leading real estate owners and developers, Union Market has a rich history dating back to 1931. Then called Union Terminal Market, approximately 700 vendors sold fresh meats, fish, dairy and produce. In the 1980s merchants abandoned the market and relocated to modern distribution centers and supermarkets.

Richie Brandenburg, EDENS director of culinary strategy, envisioned bringing the run-down area back to life. Brandenburg’s idea to create a “food culture” is fresh, healthy and makes sense.

“I’m just trying to do what we’re supposed to do. [Union Market] offers quality and local vendors and if we get people buying local only, instead of just every now and then, we can make it a habit,” Brandenburg said.

Since February, Union Market has hosted Israel Baptist Church’s gospel choir. The gospel choir provides entertainment on the first Saturday of every month for those who brunch at seated vendor spots. Brunch lovers can enjoy cocktails at Buffalo & Bergen or sweet and salty locally grown oysters at Rappahannock Oysters Co.

On Saturday, June 1, Israel’s youth choir performed.

Minister of Music, Dr. Ola Gathers, has served as Israel’s Minister of Music for the last two years. Dr. Gathers is over the church’s four different choirs: the mass choir, male choir, women’s choir, and youth choir. The church also has an instrument ensemble.

“We were recommended to perform as a linkage to the market and the community,” Dr. Gathers said.

Dr. Gathers continued to say that none of the members or musicians gets paid. However, the money raised through the Saturday performances has allowed her to start a music academy for city children who can’t afford to take lessons. The academy teaches children how to play all instruments, including voice lessons.

“I think it’s a marvelous thing what [Union Market] is doing. It’s a wonderful venture,” she said.

Union Market attracts all kinds of people from families and college students to tourists. With 40 vendors, people can purchase and enjoy the finest local meats, wine by the bottle, various homemade skin and beauty products, a selection of nearly 100 different cheeses at Righteous Cheese and a cone of the best soft-served ice cream made and distributed by a Pennsylvania Amish family.

Union Market is open Wednesday – Thursday, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. More information can be found at unionmarketdc.com.