- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 20, 2001

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts becomes the center of a warm holiday tradition that brightens the holidays with live music and entertainment.
For the 2001 Holiday Season, Christmas at the Kennedy Center will consists of a variety of inspirational performers and events.
"Every year we try to bring the spirit of the holidays to the Kennedy Center stages," says Tammie Ward, manager of artistic programming administration for the Kennedy Center. "We work very hard to make sure we present the best in holiday programs covering all genres of music and performances."
Though the calendar dates are filled with festivities, the following are a few highlights from their calendar.


A holiday event since it was first performed as a Lenten oratorio in Dublin in April of 1742, composer George Frederick Handel's Messiah presents a resounding masterpiece of music that soars to heights of drama and emotion as it presents the story of the Christ's birth and resurrection.
So try to be on hand for the Concert Hall performances by the National Symphony Orchestra, soloists and Cathedral Choral Society. That's tonight at 7 p.m., tomorrow and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Robert King will conduct.

In the Concert Hall on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. you'll find Scottish fiddle champion Bonnie Rideout and hammered dulcimer virtuoso Maggie Sansone, among others, in "A Scottish Christmas."
"This returning event is such a great show," Ms. Ward says. "It is a rich and warm performance, giving concertgoers a wonderful evening of Celtic music and dance. And Bonnie Rideout is quite magnificent."
Featuring a collection of traditional Scottish carols, wassail tunes and Highland music and dance that celebrates Christmas, Hogmanay (the Scottish New Year's Eve) and the New Year, concertgoers will hear holiday staples like "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," "Greensleeves" and "Adeste Fideles" as this chamber folk program blends the traditional sounds of Scottish fiddle and bagpipes with the more contemporary hammered dulcimer and acoustic guitar.
Traditional Highland Scottish Dancers decked out in plaid kilts and velvet frocks add to the celebration presenting an elegantly lively show that will become a family tradition.

And that's just in the Concert Hall. The Millennium Stage has its own performances; over Christmas a variety of events there promise a festive time for the whole family.
"The Millennium Stage mission is to present the performing arts to the broadest audience possible." Ms. Ward says.
Daily Millennium Stage performances begin at 6 p.m. and are part of the Performing Arts for Everyone Initiative that presents free performances featuring a range of arts and musicians.
What better way to celebrate the freedoms that we have than by joining The U.S. Air Force Brass Quintet on the Millennium Stage tonight?
The quintet features two trumpets, the French horn, a trombone and a tuba and is led by Senior Master Sergeant Lindsey Smith, stationed at Bolling Air Force Base.
The quintet is part of the 65-piece U.S. Air Force Band, which performs all over the world. "We love performing on the Millennium Stage," Sgt. Smith says. The program includes holiday songs, such children's favorites as "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer," and traditional works for brass from the Renaissance and Baroque periods by composers from J.S. Bach to Tielman Susato, a 16th century Flemish composer whose work tends to catchy dance rhythms.
"The children enjoy the program as much as the adults," Sgt. Smith says. "They love to listen to the band because we really like to perform for them; it is tremendous fun to watch them dance in front of the stage while we perform."
In addition to the music, the ensemble, which will be in military dress, will also talk to the audience about the music they are performing and their roles as representatives of the Air Force and the United States.
Millenium Stage performances are broadcast live over the Internet, and archived for future viewing at the Kennedy Center Web site (www.kennedy-center.org).

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