All That Jazz | The Washington Center

All That Jazz

As a musician, there is nothing better than to sit down, relax and enjoy a great musical performance. What a better way to do it than at The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Personally, I enjoy everything from Caribbean rhythms to classical music, so I was eager to find good music concerts in the city.


After spending a few hours searching through online event postings, I came across what is called the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. You can be sure that in the nation’s capital, there is never a dull moment, so I had to add this adventure to my "list of firsts."


The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Grand Foyer


The Millennium Stage is a space created to fulfill the Kennedy Center’s mission of making the performing arts accessible to everybody. They do this by offering free presentations every day at 6:00 p.m. You read that right: 365 artistic performances a year, and all for free. They also live stream it and keep historic video archives of the events. The performances range from classical music and theater to jazz bands and comedy specials. This way, they can satisfy various artistic tastes and diverse audiences.


The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts River Terrace


Last Sunday, I read that it was jazz night on the Millennium Stage, so I took a few friends and we went to the Kennedy Center. As we walked through the halls of this sanctuary for the arts, I couldn’t stop looking up, as I was speechless. The venue just built up my excitement, and I was definitely prepared to indulge into a sea of great jazz and musical performance of the highest order.


The National Jazz Workshop All-Star Orchestra was performing a varied repertoire that made us feel like we had left the planet for a complete hour. It was a delightful musical night and definitely great experience. You can find the performance on the Millennium Stage video archives.


National Jazz Workshop All-Star Orchestra performing at the Millennium Stage


But after that, my jazz nights weren’t over. Last week, I got tickets to see the US Air Force Band (USAF) Airmen of Note at Gallaudet University. As you may know, Gallaudet is a university dedicated to deaf and hard of hearing students, so I looked forward to visiting the school and seeing the USAF Band perform.


When I got there, they greeted me in sign language. A senior vice president of the university welcomed us and explained what Gallaudet was and how deaf people cannot currently serve in the military (even in non-combatant roles). He invited us to have a full Gallaudet experience and taught us how we ought to clap. In American Sign Language, clapping is signaled by waving both hands above your shoulders.


Airmen of Note performing at Gallaudet University


The performance started with the entrance of the Color Guard and the National Anthem. Afterward, the band played a full hour of the finest jazz you can find in D.C. They concluded the night with a beautiful rendition of God Bless America that ended with a standing ovation of hand waves. With that, I got to enjoy two nights of jazz in a row.



US Air Force Band Airmen of Note performing God Bless America • Gallaudet University


Whenever you’re in D.C., make sure to check the Millennium Stage upcoming events schedule so you don’t miss out on great and free artistic performances. There’s always something to do and to see in the Capital, so there is no excuse to stay in on the weekends. Have fun!


Until next week,



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