On the third day of honoring Leontyne Price -- one of the five Kennedy Center honorees -- was there anything else left to say?
"You have been an inspiration to all of us who have followed your career," said Ruth Davis, an adviser to the mayor, of the soprano.
"Moreover," Davis continued in her own lusty voice, "you're a magnificent personification of womanhood."
Little shrieks and whoops went up through the sleek-suited and diamond-braceleted crowd.
The reception for Price was held yesterday evening by the local chapter of the Links -- a social service organization -- and Oakley Hunter, president of Federal National Mortgage Association. Hunter was unable to attend the reception at the association's main office in Northwest, so executive vice president Les Condon subbed.
Price, in black turban and dress, launched into an ardent talk about America and how great it was: "I hope that with every note I have ever sung -- and may hope to sing in the future -- I may try to put a drop into this bucket of being American. . ."
Then, suddenly catching herself, she said. "I never speak. I don't know why I'm so long-winded today." This, of course, delighted even more the group of Links members, friends and a smattering of White House and Kennedy Center officials.
Everyone was still a little giddy from the weekend of celebration. Kennedy Center board member Henry Strong didn't get in until 2:30 Monday morning. "Well, I must say, Tom [Kendrick] and his lady and I and my lady and Bill and Buffy Cafritz ended the evening sitting on the Opera House steps listening to Count Basie," said Strong, "and thinking, 'this place is really quite homey.'"
"I'm actually still in the clouds," said Price, wearing her multiple-ribbon award draped on her chest."I tried to find a way to sleep in it," she said, grinning. "It didn't work."
But back at the Kennedy Center, they could barely clean up before getting the next project under way. "The Inaugural," said Kendrick, director of operations for the Center. "That's going to make last night's look small."
The Inaugural Committee tentatively wants the Kennedy Center on Jan. 18, 19 and 20. "Sunday [the 18th], they want to put three shows in our three major halls -- a combined opera, ballet production in the Opera House and the National Symphony in the Concert Hall," said Kendrick. "They don't know yet about the Eisenhower."
In addition, there will be two candlelight dinners that Sunday -- one before the show and another after it. Monday morning Mrs. Reagan is to give a reception, and Tuesday, the night of the inauguration, one ball for 6,000 will be held at the Kennedy Center. "It will take all of our public space," said Kendrick.