Editors' pick

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

4/18

Vocal Arts DC

Young Artist Competition winners, soprano Natalie Conte and baritone Matthew Morris, perform along with pianist R. Timothy McReynolds and spoken commentary by Elizabeth Daniels. At the Millennium Stage.
4/19

Gary Gulman

At the Millennium Stage.
4/20

Blues Alley Youth Orchestra

At the Millennium Stage.
4/21

U.S. Air Force Band Airmen of Note

At the Millennium Stage.
4/22

Northwestern University Bienen School of Music

Students perform works by Schumann, Mozart, Liszt and others. At the Millennium Stage.
4/23

Eastman School of Music

Students perform works by Balakirev, Ravel, Zyman and others. At the Millennium Stage.
4/24

San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Students perform works by Lorenzo, Thomas, Ligeti, Hindemith and Holst. 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