Editors' pick

Millennium Stage - The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

11/20

U.S. Air Force Chamber Players

In honor of the Kennedy Center original musical, "Little Dancer," the chamber group plays works composed during artist Edgar Degas' lifetime. At the Millennium Stage.
11/21

M3E

The student instrumentalists perform original, contemporary music compositions and music by Beck and Frank Zappa. At the Millennium Stage.
11/22

NSO Prelude

NSO instrumentalists violist Mahoko Eguchi, violinists Joel Fuller and Alexandra Osborne and cellist Rachel Young, known together as the Last Stand Quartet, perform music by Borodin and Haydn. At the Millennium Stage.
11/23

Eishin Nose

At the Millennium Stage.
11/26

Alexandru Tomescu

The violinist performs in a concert presented with the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York. At the Millennium Stage.
12/6

The Carol Ringers and The Peace Ringers

The youth and adult handbell ensembles perform Christmas music on 7 octaves of bells and 7 octaves of choir chimes. At the Millennium Stage.
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Editorial Review

If there's another place on Earth where you can see a different live performance 364 nights a year for free, we haven't heard of it. The Kennedy Center wanted to open its doors to new audiences -- and new talent -- and succeeded beyond anyone's expectations with the Millennium Stage, where artists of all backgrounds and talents showcase their creative energy on a specially built platform in the Grand Foyer.

The stage lights up nightly at 6 and offers entertainment for patrons waiting for the opera or "Shear Madness," tourists passing through and folks who traveled to Foggy Bottom especially to take advantage of the hour-long show. On any given month there's a mix of classical music, jazz, storytelling, song and dance. Audience members might even catch Leonard Slatkin conducting a small ensemble from the National Symphony Orchestra, or jazz master Billy Taylor with his trio. Some months feature themes such as "Music in the Movies."

As a perk of office, members of Congress can nominate performers from their state to perform on the stage. You, too, can add the Kennedy Center to your resume: Local auditions are held one weekend a year in the spring. Don't be shy -- classical guitar, a cappella tunes, harmonica, folk songs and fiddles, anything goes.

-- Nicole Lewis