How Lizzo came to play a president’s crystal flute on a D.C. stage

Tuesday night, history shimmered in a city where it often takes the faded and patinated shapes.

Lizzo stood onstage during her performance at Capital One Arena wearing a sparkly bodysuit and blew into a crystal flute that belongs to James Madison. 

That James Madison, indeed. The fourth president and "Father of the Constitution," James Madison, is regarded as such.

"You guys, history is crazy awesome!" The performer yelled as the audience cheered, applauded, and flung social media messages into the air.

That instant represented an unforeseen confluence of the past and present in all its sparkling splendour.

But a day before that public performance came some private moments at the Library of Congress that proved powerful for those who witnessed them and led to that flute ending up in the singer’s hands at the concert. 

On a day when the library was closed to the public, Lizzo spent an afternoon exploring its flute collection and trying out several of the historic instruments.

want more stories like this