The telephone rings and Daisy Voigt scrambles from her personal computer to receive yet another call, this one from the Smithsonian Associates saying they have found more musical groups for her to include in this year's American Music Week celebration.

Voigt is ecstatic. This makes more than 40 musical activities that she has compiled from the Washington and Baltimore area to be included in the nationally distributed American Music Center magazine, a sign of a job well done.

Last year, when no one was in charge of coordinating regional music for the event, only six activities were listed. In an era of public relations megafirms, Washington had come off looking like an uncultured backwater, and it has taken what may well be the smallest PR firm in town to save the day.

"There is so much music here, music everywhere, that there was no way I was going to let California or even New York show us up," says Voigt, who works out of her downtown Washington apartment. "We have everything from the United House of Prayer's 'God's Trombones' to the National Symphony, and people should know about it."

Promoting a weeklong celebration of America's musical heritage is not something just any publicist will do. It takes someone who believes in the cause, because when it comes to money, there's more to be made pushing soap powder than culture.

"I wouldn't even talk about this if I didn't believe it in," Voigt says. "I mean, my dream in life was to be Dinah Washington. I thought people who could sight-read music, who could play by ear, who could sing a capella, were performing some kind of magic. I have always been totally fascinated by music, maybe more so because I could not sing or play."

She could, however, dance -- which she was known to do on table tops in neighborhood bars and nightclubs during a 17-year stay on New York's Lower East Side.

"I had seen a lady dance on a table at the Newport Jazz Festival," she recalled. "I saw it as a way of my participating in music, of acting out my own movie scenes. I was pleased that people indulged me, but when I came to Washington I had to experience music in other ways. You know the laws here are different."

While in New York, Voigt, now 47, was a concert and art show promoter and a community relations specialist for then-Mayor John Lindsay. She came to Washington in 1977 as director of public affairs for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which was then headed by Eleanor Holmes Norton. She has worked as media relations coordinator for the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and now serves as a theater panelist for the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts.

With the works of artists such as Sam Gilliam and Al Loving adorning her work space, and record albums scattered, Voigt ponders her work.

"Do you know there is a black cardiologist in Alexandria who plays country-western music?" she asks. "He says to me, 'I really want to be a musician.' I say, 'Hey, don't sweat it. You can be both. You can do it all.' I say right on to Bo Jackson {who wants to play baseball and football}. This notion that you have to specialize is what has made everybody so bored.

"The heritage of American music is about diversity," she continues. "Just because a person likes jazz doesn't mean they can't like classical. Just because a person likes rock 'n' roll doesn't mean they can't like country and western. Just because a person is a doctor doesn't mean they can't play an instrument. I want people to get into the swing of things, and what better way to do that than through music?"

The official celebration, which will be hosted by Lionel Hampton, starts in November. As Voigt sees it, this should give other area musical organizations and groups a little more time to get their acts together, and get in touch with her, so that Washington can get its proper recognition as the cultural hub of the East Coast.