300 singers to unite in celebration of Memorial Day with a free concert at the Kennedy Center

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The 300-voice Memorial Day Festival Chorus and The United States Army Orchestra, directed by Dr. Craig Jessop and Lt Col John Clanton, will perform a free concert of uplifting, spiritual, and patriotic music in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Sunday May 29, 2011 at 2:00pm.

The Memorial Day Choral Festival unites 300 singers from across the country with The United States Army Orchestra for a free concert in the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on May 29, 2011 at 2:00pm. Produced by Tempe, AZ-based Music Celebrations International, the Memorial Day Festival Choir is led by artistic director Dr. Craig Jessop and US Army Orchestra conductor LTC John Clanton.

Dr. Jessop, the founding Dean of the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University and current artistic director of the 270-voice American Festival Chorus in Logan, Utah, was formerly the music director of the 360-voice Mormon Tabernacle Choir and, during his career with the United States Air Force, conducted the Singing Sergeants and the Band of the U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

“Craig’s phenomenal work as music director for large choirs, combined with his distinguished career as a choral and instrumental conductor in the U.S. Air Force, makes him a natural choice as artistic director for the 2011 Memorial Day Choral Festival,” says festival producer Dan Schwartz.

The program will feature John Williams’ “Liberty Fanfare” and “Hymn to the Fallen” (from Saving Private Ryan), a setting of Walt Whitman’s poetry in Howard Hanson’s “Song of Democracy,” and patriotic and spiritual works by long-time U.S. Air Force arranger Michael Davis and long-time Mormon Tabernacle Choir arranger (now director) Mack Wilberg.

Dr. Jessop says that “it is a great honor for us to pay tribute to the brave men and women who have served our nation, from its earliest days to the present time, on this Memorial Day weekend. Many of them gave the ultimate price to preserve, protect and defend the freedoms which we as Americans enjoy today. With a choir composed of singers from around the nation and the incomparable US Army Orchestra under the direction of Lt Col John Clanton, we will honor and remember those who have given so much throughout the history of our great nation.”

Representing the states of Arizona, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Utah, the participating choirs are Choral Arts Society of Utah Master Chorale, Hilliard Darby Symphonic Choir, Lenawee Community Chorus, Northern Kentucky Children’s Ensemble, Concert Choir & Youth Ensemble, Payson Civic Chorale, San Tan Chorale, Fountain Hills Community Chorus, and West Allegheny High School Senior Chorus.

Choral Arts Society of Utah music director Sterling Poulson says, “there are few places in the world as rewarding to visit than our nation’s capital during one of our national holidays. Being in DC over Memorial Day weekend and performing in the Kennedy Center to honor our fallen heroes has to top the list of great experiences. If that isn't enough, performing under the baton of Craig Jessop, an American Patriot serving as a member of the Armed Forces and one of America's greatest choral conductors, makes performing in this concert a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

The May 29, 2011 concert in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall is presented free-of-charge by Music Celebrations International. Tickets must be reserved directly from Music Celebrations International by visiting http://www.musiccelebrations.com/May29 or calling (800) 395-2036 between the hours of 11:00am and 8:00pm Eastern Daylight Time.

Music Celebrations International provides unique performance and educational opportunities to performing groups. MCI's goal is to match highly-recommended American performing ensembles with prestigious national and international festivals, commemorative events, anniversaries and other happenings. These might include centennials, bicentennials, birth anniversaries of renowned individuals such as statesmen or composers, or other dates that commemorate historic events and religious celebrations worldwide.


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