Friday, January 23, 2009

"Let Freedom Swing"

On Monday, January 19, 2009, on the occasion of Martin Luther King Day and the Presidential Inauguration, Jazz at Lincoln Center produced “A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA,” a memorable event featuring music, dance and oratory at the Eisenhower Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. “A Celebration of America” was made possible through the generous support of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Attending the festive and elegant evening was a distinguished list of guests including Jazz at Lincoln Center Board Chairman Lisa Schiff and husband David, Executive Director and Board member Adrian Ellis and Board members Shahara Ahmad-Llewellyn, Lisa and Richard Cashin, Diane M. Coffey, Mary Beth and Stephen S. Daniel, Gordon J. Davis, Gail and Al Engelberg, Hughlyn F. Fierce, Michael Fricklas and Donna Astion, Skip Gates, Marlene Hess and Jim Zirin, Mark Rosenthal and Lisa Roummel, H. Marshall Sonenshine and Dr. Agnes Varis.

Special guests were also in attendance including President of Rockefeller Foundation Judith Rodin, Brian Ahlberg, Debbie Allen, Adrienne Arsht, Deepak Bhargava, Nancy Birdsall, Ron and Judy Blaylock, Honorable Stephen G. Breyer and wife Joanna, Mr. and Mrs. Eli Broad, Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Buckley, Antony Bugg-Levine, Jonathan Capehart, Alexis Clark, Chuck Close, Glenn Close and David Shaw, Susan Fales-Hill, Ann Fudge, Charlene Hunter-Gault and Ron Gault, Agnes Gund, Marvin Hamlisch and Terre Blair, Senator and Mrs. Tom Harkin, Sarah Hurwitz, Ted Kurland, Gara LaMarche, Ronald and Jo Carole Lauder, Norman Lear, Ryan Lizza, Bob Lynch and Diane Brace, Victor MacFarlane, Peter Nitze and Anna Soellner, Ezra Obama, Nelson and Susan Peacock, Mrs. Colin Powell, Jonelle Procope and Frederick Turrell, Brian Ratner, David Remnick, Susan and David Rockefeller, Alexander Smalls and Vicki Fuller, Anna Deveare Smith, Erana Stennet, Laurie Tisch, Luis Ubinas and Deborah Tolman, Lillian Vernon, Darren Walker, Geoff Ward, Ted and Nina Wells, Timothy Wirth and Aerin and Eric Zinterhofer.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis and retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor warmly welcomed the 1100 guests, stating that the evening's performances illustrate that American democracy and America's music - jazz - share the same tenets and embody the same potential for change, hope and renewal. With an enthusiastic "let's rock!" from the Honorable Sandra Day O'Connor, members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra opened the festivities with a traditional and jubilant second line parade across the stage. President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Judith Rodin, addressed the audience and actors Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance served as hosts of the concert as a star-studded line up of musicians and dancers performed throughout the momentous event.

These performers included the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Bela Fleck, Cassandra Wilson, Chorale Le Chateau of New York City conducted by Damien Sneed, Dave Brubeck, Dianne Reeves, Don Vappie, Dr. Michael White, Foxborough (MA) High School Jazz Ensemble, Francesco Cafiso, Freddy Cole, Giovanni Hidalgo, Grace Kelly, Herlin Riley, Jared Grimes, Jessye Norman, Jonathan Batiste, Lucian Barbarin, Marcus Gilmore, Mark O'Connor, Odadaa! with Yacub Addy, Paquito D'Rivera with Diego Urcola, Alex Brown, Oscar Stagnaro, and Mark Walker, Roy Haynes, Shannon Powell and Derek Trucks.

In between performances, the audience watched videotaped interchanges between Mr. Marsalis and Justice O'Connor as they spoke of the values of civil society and the principles of democracy that jazz embodies.

Following the concert, guests were invited to a celebratory champagne supper on the Kennedy Center's Terrace level which was catered by Restaurant Associates and décor was by David Beahm. Event coordination was provided by Ronnie Davis Productions.

To download high-resolution event photos, go to:

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