The Kennedy Center, which will host a Texas Festival this summer, announced yesterday a list of the diverse Texas performers who will be appearing here from June 11-22. The featured Texans will include singers Willie Nelson, Nanci Griffith and Kris Kristofferson; seven original members of Bob Wills's Texas Playboys; and Western swing players Asleep at the Wheel. On the gospel front, the Lone Star State will be represented by Bells of Joy and Texas Ex's Gospel Choir, whose members are Texans living in the D.C. area. Classical musicians will include the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Texas Boys Choir.
But it isn't going to be music alone. Consider Eduardo Montemayor and his Ballet Fantasia Espanola, the Fort Worth Ballet and the Houston Ballet. And there will be a screening of "Giant," the 1956 film adaptation of Texan Edna Ferber's novel. There will be jazz, zydeco and Cajun music too, and Tex-Mex food and drink.
In a statement issued yesterday, Texas Gov. Ann Richards said, "I care about the arts... . The Texas Festival at the Kennedy Center is our opportunity to showcase Texas talent -- and this is important because not only does it feed our spirits, but it is good for business. With the Kennedy Center's Texas Festival, we are going to put Texas on the cultural map."
In the same statement, Kennedy Center Chairman James D. Wolfensohn said, "One of the major roles of the Kennedy Center is to bring to national attention the finest artists from every corner of our country. With Texas, we chose a very big corner."
Appropriately, George and Barbara Bush will be the honorary chairmen of the festival.