The dog days are trickling away, so grab your family, a blanket, and a picnic basket this Labor Day weekend and head to the Capitol’s West Lawn for the National Symphony Orchestra’s free Labor Day Capitol Concert.
The 30-plus-year tradition features an eclectic mix of genres, with some patriotic favorites thrown in to celebrate the holiday. “We’ll be doing show tunes, Broadway, country music, bluegrass—just a variety of patriotic and American favorites,” says NSO Executive Director Rita Shapiro. You’re sure to hear “America the Beautiful” and “The Star-Spangled Banner,” among other traditional pieces.
Last year’s show featured a classical and Americana medley, with work from legendary composers John Williams and Mark Isham. And again in 2014, Steven Reineke, the orchestra’s prominent Pops conductor, will lead the ensemble.
A change of pace before the kids return to school, the Labor Day concert is a chance to relax and get intimate with the music in the beauty of late summer. And for the orchestra, Shapiro says, it’s a chance to give back to the community. “Hopefully it’s a lovely evening under the stars—something thousands of people look forward to every year,” she says. “It’s an opportunity to sit up close and hear the orchestra in a very relaxed fashion. They kind of let their hair down a little bit.”
While the symphony’s Labor Day concert brings summer to a memorable close, the Kennedy Center’s 2014–15 season will just be getting into full swing.
Pink Martini, a world renowned “little orchestra” featured in The Sopranos and Brangelina’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith, stops by the Kennedy Center for a trio of performances, led by Reineke, September 11 through 13.
As the season proceeds, a mix of popular and classical compositions will grace audiences. With several performances laden with the classics of master composers Bach, Stravinsky, Schubert, and Mozart, classical aficionados will get their fix in 2014. Those cautious of diving right into the legendary symphonies are in for a few treats, too.
Hundreds will gather on the mall to hear the orchestra’s lively program.
Things may get eerie as John Mauceri conducts three multimedia performances October 23 to 25, integrating the haunting music from Tim Burton’s films, such as Edward Scissorhands, Batman, and The Nightmare Before Christmas. As a backdrop to the National Symphony Orchestra performing Danny Elfman’s scores, the stage will be backlit with visuals from Burton’s movies and storyboards.
Virtuoso violinist and UN Messenger of Peace, Midori, plays the Kennedy Center the nights before and after Halloween. And speaking of the holiday, the orchestra will perform in full costume on October 26, a delight for the trick-or-treaters in your life.
Fans of Cirque du Soleil won’t want to miss the Reineke-conducted Cirque de la Symphonie December 11 through 13. Much like the traveling circus arts show, the Kennedy Center’s holiday themed rendition will showcase aerialists, jugglers, and more. For a full schedule of events and to purchase tickets. The John f. Kennedy center for the performing arts, 2700 F St. NW, 202-467-4600