The Kennedy Center announces the Millennium Stage Schedule for May 2017

FREE daily performances on the Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center! Check out what they have in store for May 2017!

April 25, 2017

Free Daily Performances


John F. Kennedy Centennial Week D.C.

Partnership School programs

Tear a Root from the Earth

Farah Siraj

(WASHINGTON)—The Kennedy Center announced its May 2017 schedule of free daily performances on the Millennium Stage today. Included in this month is a weeklong celebration to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Center’s namesake, the late President John F. Kennedy—whose 100th birthday would have been May 29, 2017.  Special, simultaneous tango performances on both Millennium Stages by Company E, (In)Security, or Jack and Nikki Do the Cold War Tango (May 26), will represent President Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev’s preoccupation with each other in the early 1960s. In addition to being remembered for his role in United States/Soviet Union relations, President Kennedy’s passion and commitment to the performing arts continues to extend to local communities, including the Washington, D.C.-area. The D.C. Partnership Schools Initiative is aligned with the approach to arts education employed by District of Columbia Public Schools— experiencing the arts, learning in the arts, and learning through the arts. Each school participates in a strategic planning process to develop their own arts education vision, goals, and action plan, selecting Kennedy Center resources that align with the articulated vision, goals, and plan. The D.C. Partnership Schools will be presenting programs from May 15–May 19.
Other calendar highlights include a concert by Farah Siraj (May 1), who has performed for numerous members of international royalty and also represents Jordan annually on United Nations World Peace Day, as well as Tear a Root from the Earth (May 5), a new musical that unites American and Afghan folk music to tell the story of multiple generations of one family in Afghanistan.
Now celebrating its 20th season, the Millennium Stage is the only place in the U.S. to offer a free performance every day of the year that is streamed live on the web. A full schedule of Millennium Stage performances for the month of May 2017 is below. Unless otherwise noted, performances will take place in the Kennedy Center Grand Foyer and no tickets are required. Performances are open to television and radio news coverage. Media crews must request access at least one full week prior to the performance date. 

Full Chronological Schedule for May 2017

Mon., May 1 6 p.m. Jordanian virtuoso vocalist Farah Siraj spreads a message of peace through writing and performing original compositions. Her art is influenced by Middle Eastern music, flamenco, jazz, bossa, and pop with lyrics in Arabic, Spanish, and English.
Tue., May 2 6 p.m. The Janning Trumann Quartet focuses on the work of young German bandleader and trombonist Janning Trumann. His ensemble combines improvisation with composition to create their individual sound of contemporary jazz music.
Presented in collaboration with the Embassy of Germany as part of the EU Month of Culture.
Wed., May 3 6 p.m. The Dearborn Community Chorus performs a variety of choral music including diverse styles from popular show tunes to classical standards, while offering its members an opportunity to have fun and enjoy each other’s companionship. Founded in 1963, the 75-plus member choir has encouraged and promoted the development of a vital cultural environment within the Dearborn area in Michigan while providing entertainment for the community throughout its long history.
Thu., May 4 6 p.m. Trombonist Matthew Hartnett has performed with Lauryn Hill, Bilal, Dave Chappelle’s Juke Joint, and many more. Tonight he brings his funky Gumbo All-Stars to Washington, D.C. Hailing from Houston, Texas, with roots in Lake Charles, Louisiana, he brings a genuine, heartfelt musical perspective with genre-defying compositions and southern-rooted influences.
Fri., May 5 6 p.m. Tear a Root from the Earth is a musical based on the book by John Blair, and tells the story of three generations of a rural Afghan family who encounter the ideologies and violent actions of outsiders. Tear a Root from the Earth is a collaboration between composers Johnny Walsh and world-renowned Afghan rabab virtuoso Qais Essar, arranged by and for celebrated Americana band Gramophonic.
Sat., May 6 6 p.m. Led by singer/songwriter Mavis “Swan” Poole and the powerful, yet melodic drummer Jeremy “Bean” Clemons, Soul Understated is a talented ensemble with a sound that spans genres. Their sound is influenced by EWF, Ella Fitzgerald, Donny Hathaway, Curtis Mayfield, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, and even Hip Hop.
A special performance selected by Jason Moran. 
Sun., May 7 6 p.m. An award-winning and top-rated drum group from Shanghai, GuGu Drums offers a theatrical drum drama depicting historical and culturally significant drum compositions. Director Yang Xiaodong and his authentic ancient drum movements, as well as the actual ancient drums themselves, represent a powerful lineage—dating back to the times of the Emperors of Chinese dynasties—with a contemporary approach. The show features drum vignettes based on timeless Chinese proverbs, fables, and fairy tales.
Mon., May 8 6 p.m. A select group of music students from Washington, D.C.’s Duke Ellington School of the Arts perform jazz standards and original compositions created over the 2016–2017 school year under the tutelage of trumpeter, composer, and educator Terence Blanchard; Duke Ellington School Director of Jazz Davey Yarborough; and D.C. based alumni of the Center’s professional development program Betty Carter’s Jazz Ahead, Elijah Jamal Balbed, Shacara Rogers, and Integriti Reeves.  This is the culminating event of an eight-month Terence Blanchard All-In Kennedy Center residency, which included a performance by Blanchard’s E-Collective jazz group; the premiere of a family theater production of Bud, Not Buddywith original music by Blanchard; and the WNO presentation of Blanchard’s opera, Champion.
Tue., May 9 6 p.m. Making Movies is an American rock ‘n’ roll band that keeps its Latin roots front and center, entrancing audiences with their interweaving of Afro-Latino rhythms and psychedelic rock and roll riffs. Armed with their ambitious and politically charged new album, I Am Another You (released on May 26), the band punches out one high-energy song after another with theatrics and improvisation littered throughout.
Wed., May 10 6 p.m. Hear a diverse program of chamber works performed by outstanding graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Maryland School of Music. Selected by faculty from more than 35 chamber ensembles, these students represent in the school’s nationally recognized chamber music program.
Thu., May 11 6 p.m. Saxophonist Dr. Doug O’Connor and pianist Dr. Eunmi Ko present exciting 21st century chamber music, composed by Dr. Baljinder Sekhon and Paul Reller of the University of South Florida, and Dr. Ingrid Stölzel of the University of Kansas. The featured music is abundant with fresh grooves and evocative new sonorities that creatively combine the two instruments.
Fri., May 12 6 p.m. NSO Prelude: Violinist Joel Fuller, flutist Julianna Nickel, hornist James Nickel, and pianist Sophia Kim Cook play works by J.S. Bach, Melanie Bonis, and Eric Ewazen.
Sat., May 13 5 p.m. The largest youth poetry competition and festival in the D.C. area, Louder Than A Bomb—DMV promotes literacy, self-confidence, and public speaking for teenaged poets. The poetry slam is about sharing, listening, and connecting with other young people from a different part of town, country, or cultural heritage. The Grand Slam Finals on the Millennium Stage will culminate the three-week festival where one team will be crowned the 2017 LTAB DMV Champions.
Sun., May 14 6 p.m. The Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers of Ithaca, New York is a group of community singers named in honor of current Ithaca resident Dorothy Cotton, a civil rights pioneer who served as education director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Founded in 2010, the group is dedicated to the preservation of and education about the “Negro Spirituals.” Director Baruch Whitehead introduces the different songs with narration about their hidden meanings, history, or significance to enslaved Africans of the time.
Mon., May 15 6 p.m. The award-winning Woodrow Wilson High School Vocal Music Program, a Kennedy Center D.C. Partnership Initiative School, comes to the Millennium Stage. Join the school’s Concert Choir, Women’s Choir, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and The Wilson Singers as they perform a varied repertoire of music under the direction of Lori Williams.
Tue., May 16 6 p.m. The Columbia Heights Educational Campus (CHEC), a Kennedy Center D.C. Partnership Initiative School, is proud to present the Lincoln Middle School Band, CHEC Orchestra, CHEC Concert Band, and the CHEC Choir in an evening at the Millennium Stage. Performances will feature a wide variety of styles within each ensemble as well as several outstanding soloists.
Wed., May 17 6 p.m. School Without Walls, a Kennedy Center D.C. Partnership Initiative School, presents a musical evening featuring their Stage Band and Concert Choir. The band will present a variety of contemporary popular music while the choir will perform standard concert music.
Thu., May 18 6 p.m. Barnard Elementary School, a D.C. Partnership Initiative School, celebrates and showcases the contributions of Africans globally and African–Americans in the United States through the arts.
Fri., May 19 6 p.m. The Reston Chapter of Links, Inc. and Washington, D.C. Chapter of Society Inc—in collaboration with D.C. School and Community Initiatives—presents a performance showcase of talented Washington, D.C. and Virginia high school scholarship winners.
Sat., May 20 6 p.m. NSO Prelude: Violinist Nurit Bar-Josef, pianist Tony Nalker, bassist Charles Nilles, and percussionist Joseph Connell play Bolling’s Suite for Violin and Jazz Piano Trio.
Sun., May 21 6 p.m. Target Family Night: Everyday Oz is a family–friendly performance and demonstration that partners individuals with disabilities and professional performers for an engaging show. Equal parts zany and poetic, Everyday Oz includes active audience participation to reveal the many ways that we are smart, compassionate, brave, and creative…every day!
Presented in collaboration with Kennedy Center Sound Health.
Mon., May 22 6 p.m. The American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras (AYPO) is a youth orchestra program that serves more than 400 students in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. AYPO’s Chamber Ensembles will play works by Mozart, Barber, Schubert, and others.
Presented in collaboration with JFK Centennial Week.
Tue., May 23 6 p.m. The Trombonists of the Kennedy Center Opera House Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra come together to honor JFK with compositions that exemplify Courage, Freedom, Justice, Service, and Gratitude.
Presented in collaboration with JFK Centennial Week.
Wed., May 24 6 p.m. From his #1 country hits—ranging from folk, Americana, roots, and a few trips into the American Songbook—David Ball and his music embody JFK’s values of Courage, Freedom, Justice, Service, and Gratitude. Ball’s unique brand of southern storytelling will also include information about the Operation Troop Aid organization of which he is national spokesman.
Presented in collaboration with JFK Centennial Week.
Thu., May 25 6 p.m. VSA presents a diverse evening of musical talent featuring the VSA International Young Soloists. The VSA International Young Soloists Program recognizes outstanding young musicians with disabilities in their pursuit of a career.
Presented in collaboration with JFK Centennial Week.
Fri., May 26 6 p.m. (IN) SECURITY is a work of dance, music, film, narrative, and history which exploits a unique physical aspect of the Kennedy Center to present the story of the Kennedy/Khrushchev relationship as told, simultaneously, from both points of view. The work uses both Millennium Stages simultaneously. On one stage, the relationship is told from the American viewpoint—the Kennedy viewpoint. On the other, it is told from the Russian viewpoint—the Khrushchev viewpoint. The story told on the North Stage will be simulcast on the Millennium Stage South video screen and vice versa. In this way, history is also held true.
Presented in collaboration with JFK Centennial Week.
Sat., May 27
North Plaza
6 p.m. Former Chuck Berry bandmate, Daryl Davis, will honor the late, great progenitor of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  He may be gone, but his music lives on!
Presented in collaboration with JFK Centennial Week.
Sun., May 28 6 p.m. Jazz pianist and composer George Burton will perform selections from his debut album, The Truth of What I Am > The Narcissist. For the album, Burton collaborated with Derrick Hodge to produce 10 original compositions that fuse traditional hard bop, avant-garde, post-bop, R&B, and other genres. Recognized for his inventive artistry as a pianist/composer, Burton’s sound is an experience that connects listeners in forging the frontier of improvised music. His genre-defying Quintet is revered for its haunting melodies and uninhibited groove.
This artist’s performance honors JFK and exemplifies Gratitude.
A special performance selected by Jason Moran.
Presented in collaboration with JFK Centennial Week.
Mon., May 29 6 p.m. In honor of John F. Kennedy’s birthday, the Navy Commodores will perform. The premier jazz ensemble presents the finest in America’s truly original music. A specialty unit of the United States Navy Band in Washington, D.C., the group features 18 of the Navy’s top jazz and big band musicians. Under the leadership of Senior Chief Musician Philip M. Burlin, the Commodores combine the best of jazz and popular music. They continue to preserve the great heritage of jazz while also being an innovative force for the future.
In conjunction with the ticketed JFK Centennial Celebration taking place in the Opera House at 4 p.m.
Presented in collaboration with JFK Centennial Week.
Tue., May 30 6 p.m. Color Palette—comprised of Jay Nemeyer, Joshua Hunter, Matt Hartenau, Rogerio Naressi, and Maryjo Mattea— is an electro rock/synth pop band from Washington, D.C. Since their first release on June 1, 2015, Color Palette has garnered hundreds of press hits worldwide. Color Palette takes experiences like heartbreak and love, and together turns them into something mystical and inviting.
Part of a monthly local music series featuring D.C. musicians, created in partnership with D.C.–based podcast and website Hometown Sounds.
Wed., May 31 6 p.m. A singer and songwriter with a global perspective, Daby Touré brings a storyteller’s voice to the Millennium Stage. Born in Mauritania, Touré never fails to astound audiences with his ethereal voice, masterful guitar work, and catchy original songs. His singular vision reveals a complex, yet approachable sound—one that defies expectations and stereotypes of what it means to be an African artist today.

All performers and programs are subject to change without notice.
The Kennedy Center is the only U.S. institution that presents a free performance 365 days a year. Created in 1997 and underwritten by James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs, the Millennium Stage features a broad spectrum of performing arts each day at 6 p.m. Brought to the public by Target Stores and The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, the Millennium Stage helps fulfill the Center’s mission of making the performing arts accessible to everyone. In the past 19 years, more than 3 million visitors have enjoyed more than 7,000 groups. Through intentionally identifying artistic partners regionally, nationally, and internationally, performances reflect the breadth and depth of culture in society, exploring styles including jazz, ballet, storytelling, popular music, Hip Hop, contemporary dance, opera, choral music, tap dance, theater, chamber music, symphonic music, puppetry, stand-up comedy, and cabaret. Of the many performers that have appeared on the Millennium Stage, approximately 25,000 have been Washington-area artists and more than 6,000 have been international performing artists representing more than 50 countries. The Millennium Stage has also hosted artists representing all 50 states, and has presented more than 15,000 artists in their Kennedy Center debuts. Since 1999, each night’s performance has been broadcast live over the internet, and more than 4,430 of these performances have been digitally archived on the Kennedy Center’s website,
Need a Lift?
The free Kennedy Center Shuttle, the Center’s link to Metro’s Foggy Bottom/George Washington University Metro station (blue/orange/silver lines), departs every 15 minutes from 9:45 a.m. to midnight, Monday – Friday; 10 a.m. to midnight, Saturdays; noon to midnight, Sundays; and 4:00 p.m. to midnight on Federal holidays. Free parking is not available when attending free events.
The Millennium Stage is brought to you by Target and The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation.
The Millennium Stage was created and underwritten by James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs to make the performing arts accessible to everyone in fulfillment of the Kennedy Center’s mission to its community and the nation.
Additional funding for the Millennium Stage is provided by Bernstein Family Foundation, The Isadore and Bertha Gudelsky Family Foundation, Inc., The Meredith Foundation, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Dr. Deborah Rose and Dr. Jan A.J. Stolwijk, U.S. Department of Education, and the Millennium Stage Endowment Fund.
The Millennium Stage Endowment Fund was made possible by James A. Johnson and Maxine Isaacs, Fannie Mae Foundation, the Kimsey Endowment, Gilbert† and Jaylee† Mead, Mortgage Bankers Association of America and other anonymous gifts to secure the future of the Millennium Stage.
Major support for educational programs at the Kennedy Center is provided by
David and Alice Rubenstein through the Rubenstein Arts Access Program.
Kennedy Center education and related artistic programming is made possible through the generosity of the National Committee for the Performing Arts and the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts.
For more information on the Millennium Stage, please visit the Millennium Stage event page or Millennium Stage Facebook page.

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