Music Celebrations International
We Have a Dream Choral Festival
To celebrate the 60th Anniversary of this iconic speech, Music Celebrations International (MCI) is pleased to present a very special choral festival – The We Have a Dream Choral Festival, taking place June 16-19, 2023. The festival finale concert will be held in the Concert Hall of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, our National Cultural Center that opened as a living memorial to President John F. Kennedy in 1971. President Kennedy was instrumental in the United States Civil Rights Movement and was primarily responsible for the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Dr. Eugene Rogers
In addition to the festival finale performance in the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center, the Festival Chorus will participate in a special Wreath-Laying Ceremony and recital performance at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall. Festival participants will also visit and stand in the exact spot at the Lincoln Memorial where Dr. King delivered his iconic speech, which is now memorialized by a permanent inscription in the spot Dr. King stood. These events at the MLK Jr. Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial will take place on Juneteenth of 2023, the United States federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of African-American slaves and celebrating African-American culture.
Dr. Eugene Rogers – Director of Choirs at the University of Michigan, a two-time Michigan Emmy Award winner, a Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient, and a GRAMMY® Award nominee will serve as the Festival Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. Dr. Rogers is recognized as a leading conductor throughout the United States and abroad. In addition to being the founding director of EXIGENCE, he was recently named as the fifth Artistic Director of the two-time GRAMMY® Award-Winning Ensemble, The Washington Chorus (Washington, D.C.). Dr. Rogers holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in choral music education from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and a Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees in choral conducting from U-M. Dr. Rogers currently serves on the board of Chorus America and is the former national chair of the Diversity Initiatives Committee for the American Choral Directors Association.
Day One: Friday, June 16, 2023
- Arrive in D.C. and meet MCI Tour Manager
- Visit and tour Arlington National Cemetery and attend a special Changing of the Guard Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Also visit the Welcome Center, the Kennedy Gravesites and the John F. Kennedy Eternal Flame, the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial, and other important sites within Arlington
- Hotel Check-in
- Festival Welcome Dinner with Speeches and Introductions
- Evening Festival Chorus rehearsal
- Directors Reception (directors only)
- Overnight at the hotel
Day Two: Saturday, June 17
Full buffet breakfasts included at the hotel
Morning Festival Chorus rehearsal
Lunch, on own
Visit the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. Often called the “Father of the Civil Rights Movement,” Frederick Douglass is one of the most famous abolitionists and civil rights advocates in American history. The Frederick Douglass National Historic Site preserves the final home and legacy of this profoundly influential figure at Cedar Hill – Douglass’s home from 1878 until his death in 1895. At the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, the National Park Service details the historic story of this famous runaway slave, abolitionist, Underground Railroad conductor, civil rights advocate, author, and diplomat”
Dinner included at Ben’s Chili Bowl, a local establishment, dined in by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. prior to his March on Washington
Evening Festival Chorus rehearsal
Overnight at the hotel
Day Three: Sunday, June 18
- Full buffet breakfasts included at the hotel
- Morning Festival dress rehearsal at the Kennedy Center
- Lunch, included at KC Café
- I have a Dream Choral Festival at the Kennedy Center
- Dinner included at a local restaurant
- Evening guided illuminated walking tour of the Korean, Vietnam, National World War II, African American Civil War, Emancipation Monument, Eisenhower, and Jefferson Memorials as well as the Washington Monument
Visit the Lincoln Memorial, the most visited Memorial in Washington, D.C. and the site of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a Dream” speech to over 250,000 live spectators on August 28, 1963. Stand in the very spot that Dr. King Stood (now marked with a permanent inscription of “I have a Dream), as he delivered his speech that was a defining moment of the civil rights movement and among the most iconic speeches in American history. Also learn about the Great March on Washington and the Million Man March, both pivotal civil rights events in our country’s history
- Return to the hotel for overnight
Day Four: Monday, June 19
- Full buffet breakfasts included at the hotel
- Visit the tour the National Archives, to see the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation
- Visit Black Lives Matter plaza, an important gathering place for activists, largely because of its proximity to the White House
- Visit Lafayette Square for a photo opportunity with the White House
Lunch, on own
- Visit the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial for the Juneteenth Festival Wreath-Laying and Memorial Recital.
- Afternoon self-guided visit of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the world’s largest museum dedicated to African-American history and culture and one of the most visited Smithsonian Museums
- Afternoon departure for home
This program is an external rental presented in coordination with the Kennedy Center Campus Rentals Office and is not produced by the Kennedy Center.
John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts is America’s living memorial to President John F. Kennedy, attracting millions of visitors each year to more than 2,000 performances, events, and exhibits. With its artistic affiliates, the National Symphony Orchestra and Washington National Opera, the Center is one of the nation’s busiest performing arts centers dedicated to providing world-class art, powerful education, and outstanding memorial experiences to the broadest possible constituency. On September 7, 2019, the Kennedy Center inaugurated the REACH, its first-ever major expansion, providing visitors with new opportunities to interact and engage with the Center as the nation’s premier nexus of arts, learning, and culture.