Category Archives: Performing Arts

Meet GAO Employee Ellen Arnold Losey

As a sidebar to the documentary film, we are featuring web profiles of federal employees who also do something creative on the side. Meet Game Inventor and U.S. Government Accountability Office employee Ellen Arnold Losey.

What kind of work do you do? 
I’ve done graphic design, brand management, and web mastering at several federal agencies, currently with the U.S. Government Accountablity Office.

What is your creative outlet?
Batala Washington, an all-woman drumline with more than 80 members currently. We play samba reggae music, which comes from northeastern Brazil.

I’ve been the band’s Associate Musical Director since 2013; I’ve been drumming with them for seven years.

Do you consider this a hobby or a second career?
Totally a second career. It consumes *so much* of my life outside of work.

Why is your creative outlet important to you?
It’s my thing I do that is just for me — not for work, not for family. It’s mine. It’s cathartic to hit drums, and a great source of exercise and stress relief. It’s a community band and the women I play with are fascinating and amazing people who I would not have met otherwise. I get to know the DC community better through our members and through the gigs we play. I get to travel outside the city, even the country, to connect and perform with our sister bands.

How do you feel your creative outlet contributes to your federal work and vice versa?
In my band, I am a leader. Many of our members do not have percussion experience, and since I do (I started playing drums in 4th grade), I have taken a musical leadership position. I conduct the band, lead rehearsals and workshops, teach new songs, and do a lot of behind-the-scenes coordination. Many of these are skills that translate to the work I do. It’s not easy to get and hold 80 women’s attention, and to keep everyone informed about what’s happening from week to week, so I’ve definitely had to hone my leadership and communication skills!

If you are an employee of the federal government but spend your evenings or weekends doing something something creative (whether as a second career or as a strong hobby) and would like to be featured on our Meet the Creatives section of this website, tell us a little bit about your story. 

Meet Keyboardist and Export-Import Bank Employee Mark Jefferson

He may look like the ultimate Washington bureaucrat with his suit, tie, and briefcase as he walks from the Metro station to his office at the Export-Import Bank where he works in procurement . But this buttoned-down work persona gets turned on its head after hours  when Mark plays piano in the backup band of a bouffanted 60’s girl group cover band The Fabulettes. Whether playing gigs, teaching dance lessons, acting, or expressing himself through clothes, cars and furnishings which seem more Mad Men than House of Cards, Mark has found a way to balance his work and creative lives.

If you are an employee of the federal government but spend your evenings or weekends doing something something creative (whether as a second career or as a strong hobby) and would like to be featured on our Meet the Creatives section of this website, tell us a little bit about your story. 

Meet bandleader and Library of Congress employee Jennifer Cutting

She spends her days at the Library of Congress where she helps researchers navigate through records of American folklife. She spends nights and weekends composing music and managing OCEAN, a contemporary Celtic fusion folk band which as won accolades on the regional and national music scene, including winning Washington Area Music Awards, broadcast on NPR’s Mountain Stage, and playing at major folk festivals and venues. Growing up a family of eccentric musicians and performance artists against the backdrop of beat poetry, dashikis, and ashrams, Jennifer, in many ways, rebelled against her hippie upbringing by going after a federal career to balance with her own musical career. Instead she found a symbiosis between her two avocations.

If you are an employee of the federal government but spend your evenings or weekends doing something something creative (whether as a second career or as a strong hobby) and would like to be featured on our Meet the Creatives section of this website, tell us a little bit about your story. 

Meet Actress and DoD Employee Boneza Hanchock

She has one of those legendary Washington DC commutes from her suburban home in Northern Virginia to Fort Meade in Maryland where she works as a civilian after an army career where she served in Iraq. While she lives up to the Army motto of getting more done before 9 am than most people get done in a day, her second day begins when she gets off work. Evenings are spent in acting classes, rehearsals, and performances. Boneza works with a variety of theater companies playing in everything from ancient classics to contemporary dramas — though her heart will always belong to Shakespeare, her supportive husband Darryl, and their pet pit bull.

See Boneza’s theatre credits.

If you are an employee of the federal government but spend your evenings or weekends doing something something creative (whether as a second career or as a strong hobby) and would like to be featured on our Meet the Creatives section of this website, tell us a little bit about your story. 

Meet Supernumerary and DoD Employee Timothy Keefe

As a sidebar to the documentary film, we are featuring web profiles of federal employees who also do something creative on the side.  Meet  DoD employee and opera supernumerary Timothy Keefe.

Where do you work?
I work for the Department of Defense as an IT project manager for a large cloud initiative underway.  I’ve been with the agency for five years and have done customer engagement, policy, troublehshooting and budgeting.  Never a dull moment with IT, and especially in what we do day in and day out to keep the infrastructure running smoothly to achieve our goals.

From the Washington National Opera's 2013 production of Puccini's '"Manon Lescaut."
From the Washington National Opera’s 2013 production of Puccini’s ‘”Manon Lescaut.”

What is your creative outlet?
I’m supernumerary for the Washington National Opera. The term refers to someone in a stage production who fills out the scene, much like an extra does in a movie. I’ve been in five productions so far and have played soldiers, servants, and part of the maddening crowd.

Do you consider this a hobby or a second career?
This is my hobby, though we supers are paid for our time and efforts in both rehearsals and the actual performances.  It’s not much, so I’m not about to quit my day job just yet.

Why is your creative outlet important to you?
It fulfills a dream I had many years ago when I talked with a few supernumeraries who worked with the Toledo Opera when I was living in Ohio. My outlet allows me to indulge, in a different sense, my long-standing love of classical music, especially since I’ve become more interested in opera in the past few years. It’s also become a social outlet since I’m quite busy with work and other commitments that I don’t have the time to pursue friendships more conventionally.

How do you feel your creative outlet contributes to your federal work and vice versa?My outlet contributes to my Fed work because it allows me take a break from thinking about IT all day and just be part of the scenery, both figuratively and literally.  It also, at times, gets the creative juices flowing for what I do on the job.

If you are an employee of the federal government but spend your evenings or weekends doing something something creative (whether as a second career or as a strong hobby) and would like to be featured on our Meet the Creatives section of this website, tell us a little bit about your story.