JUNE 27 — JULY 4, 2017

Co-presented by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Established in 2011 and hailed by the Washington Post as “true harmonic convergence,” Classical Movements’ Serenade! Washington, D.C. Choral Festival is an international choir celebration that offers an unforgettable, life-changing experience for singers and audiences alike. Presented free to the public, since its inception, Serenade! has showcased more than 50 choirs from some 25 countries to enthusiastic audiences at prestigious venues throughout the Washington metropolitan area.

The 7th annual Serenade! Festival, from June 27 — July 4, 2017, promises to be a very special edition, as it is co-presented with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in celebration of President Kennedy’s centennial and one of his longstanding initiatives, the Peace Corps.

In the early morning of October 14, 1960, in front of the University of Michigan’s student union, presidential candidate Kennedy first challenged the nation to volunteer for peaceful service in underdeveloped countries. Hundreds across America answered his charge, and upon careful consultation with Sargent Shriver, President Kennedy signed Executive Order 10924, thus establishing the Peace Corps.

For 8 days and nights, select youth and adult choirs hailing from countries that have benefited from Peace Corps volunteers will perform collaborative concerts and exchange cultures through shared workshops and side-by-side rehearsals with select American choirs, all while participating in community outreach projects all across the region.

Featuring 5, multi-choral performances on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage — as well as 1 mass choir finale concert conducted by Joshua Habermann, director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus and Santa Fe Desert Chorale, in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall on Monday, July 3 — Serenade! choirs will perform 8 additional concerts at stunning and historic venues in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

“…the Serenade Festival, an international choral festival which has been held in DC for several years; this year, it will move (in part) to the Kennedy Center and present choruses from countries where the Peace Corps, a Kennedy initiative, has been active.”
Anne Midgette, Washington Post

Notable among the Serenade! 2017 ensembles: Europe’s oldest boy choir, Catalonia’s Escolania de Montserrat, who will perform music composed for them by the legendary Pablo Casals, President Kennedy’s honored guest at the White House in 1961; Latvian Voices, an a cappella ensemble from the capital of Latvia, that Baltic nation the President visited while still a Harvard student touring Europe; Gandharva Choir from New Delhi, India, where as a 34-year-old congressman, then Rep. Kennedy met the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in 1951.

On November 13, 1961, an almost 85-year-old Pablo Casals, the Spanish cellist and composer living in exile, finally accepted the personal invitation from President Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Lee Kennedy to perform in the East Room of the White House. For decades, Casals had refused to perform in the U.S., or any other country, that recognized the fascist government of Francisco Franco. Held in honor of Governor Luis Muñoz Marín and his wife, Inés Mendoza de Muñoz, of Puerto Rico, the official event featured Lithuanian violinist Alexander Schneider and Polish pianist Mieczysław Horszowski. Composers Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland, conductors Eugene Ormandy and Leopold Stokowski were in the audience. Also attending? Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter, Alice Longworth — the last president for whom Pau Casals had performed.

As for those groups from countries served by the Peace Corps, Serenade! will highlight Insingizi, a thrilling, three-man ensemble from Zimbabwe, Balkanes, an all-female quartet that shares both the sacred and profane traditions of their native Bulgaria and Pihcintu, a refugee children’s chorus based in Portland, Maine.

Also, Classical Movements’ Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program has commissioned 11, brand-new works by composers from the festival’s featured countries, each piece inspired by the 5 ideals President Kennedy championed — Justice, Freedom, Courage, Service and Gratitude — manifested every day, the world over by Peace Corps volunteers.


Baltimore, MARYLAND | Emmanuel Episcopal Church

Date: WED, JUNE 28
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Free, with Eventbrite registration
Charity: Safe and Sound
Lineup: Le Cantanti di Chicago (USA); Insingizi (Zimbabwe), Madras Youth Choir (India)

Annapolis, MARYLAND | St. Anne’s Episcopal Church

Classical Movements and Live Arts Maryland co-present Serenade! A JFK 100 Celebration, as part of the St. Anne’s Concert Series.

Date: THURS, JUNE 29
Time: 7 p.m.
Tickets: Free, with Eventbrite registration
Charity: Oxfam
Lineup: Capella, Wallace High School Senior Chamber Choir (Northern Ireland); Egschiglen (Mongolia); Balkanes (Bulgaria)

Alexandria, VIRGINIA | St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

Date: FRI, JUNE 30
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Free, with Eventbrite registration
Charity: United Community Ministries
Lineup: Coro Polifónico de Panamá (Panama); Gandharva Choir (India); Latvian Voices (Latvia)

Alexandria, VIRGINIA | Alfred Street Baptist Church

Date: SAT, JULY 1
Time: 5:15 p.m. (pre-worship concert)
Tickets: Free, with Eventbrite registration
Lineup: Insingizi (Zimbabwe); Coro Polifónico de Panamá (Panama) or Nairobi Girls Chorale (Kenya)

WASHINGTON, D.C. | Church of the Epiphany

Date: SAT, JULY 1
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Free, with Eventbrite registration
Charity: Welcome Table Choir
Lineup: Les Voix Boréales (Canada); Gandharva Choir (India); Balkanes (Bulgaria); Egschiglen (Mongolia)

Castleton, VIRGINIA | Castleton Festival

Date: SUN, JULY 2
Time: 4 p.m.
Tickets: Orchestra and Balcony ($20–40)
Lineup: Egschiglen (Mongolia); Balkanes (Bulgaria)

Baltimore, MARYLAND | Patterson Park

Classical Movements and Friends of Patterson Park co-present the Serenade! A JFK 100 Celebration, as part of Patterson Park’s Summer Concert Series.

Date: SUN, JULY 2
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Tickets: Free, with Eventbrite registration
Lineup: Shanghai №3 High School Girls Band (China); Coro Polifónico de Panamá (Panama); Pihcintu (Refugee Girls Chorus); Insingizi (Zimbabwe)

WASHINGTON, D.C. | Holy Trinity Catholic Church

Date: SUN, JULY 2
Time: 8 p.m.
Tickets: Free, with Eventbrite registration
Lineup: Latvian Voices (Latvia); Escolania de Montserrat (Catalonia-Spain)

WASHINGTON, D.C. | John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Concert Hall

Date: MON, JULY 3
Time: 6 p.m.
Tickets: Free
Lineup: Escolania de Montserrat (Catalonia-Spain)
Gandharva Choir (India)
Coro Polifónico de Panamá (Panama)
Insingizi (Zimbabwe)
Le Cantanti di Chicago (USA)
Latvian Voices (Latvia)
Balkanes (Bulgaria)
Egschiglen (Mongolia)
Madras Youth Choir (India)
Pihcintu (Refugee Girls Chorus from Portland, Maine, USA)
Les Voix Boréales (Canada)
Miami Children’s Chorus (USA)
Anima - Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus (USA)
Nairobi Girls Chorale (Kenya)
Shanghai №3 Girls High School Concert Band (China)


All Millennium Stage concerts are free, start at 6:00 p.m. and will be livestreamed.

Date: WED, JUNE 28

Lineup: Gandharva Choir (India); Capella, Wallace High School Senior Chamber Choir (Northern Ireland); Coro Polifónico de Panamá (Panama)

Date: THURS, JUNE 29

Lineup: Insingizi (Zimbabwe); Le Cantanti di Chicago (USA), Nairobi Girls Chorale (Kenya)

Date: FRI, JUNE 30

Lineup: Madras Youth Choir (India); Balkanes (Bulgaria)

Date: SAT, JULY 1

Lineup: Latvian Voices (Latvia); Egschiglen (Mongolia); Pihcintu (Refugee Children’s Chorus, USA)

Date: SUN, JULY 2

Lineup: Les Voix Boréales (Canada); Miami Children’s Chorus (USA); Gandharva Choir (India)

About Joshua Habermann:

The 2016–17 season marks Joshua Habermann’s sixth season as Chorus Director of the Dallas Symphony Chorus, the official vocal ensemble of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, in the Jean D. Wilson Chorus Director Chair. Habermann is also Music Director of The Desert Chorale, a professional chamber choir based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Prior to his DSO appointment in 2010, Habermann was assistant conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, where he prepared the chorus for performances with conductors Michael Tilson Thomas and Charles Dutoit. Recordings as a singer with the SFSC include Christmas by the Bay and Mahler’s Symphony №2, a Grammy nominee for Best Choral/Orchestra Recording. Habermann has appeared in numerous conferences and festivals, including international engagements in Brazil, Cuba, Costa Rica, Germany, Czech Republic, France, China and Singapore. As a singer (tenor), he has performed with the Oregon Bach Festival Chorus under Helmuth Rilling and made three recordings with Austin-based Conspirare: Through the Green Fuse, Threshold of Night and Requiem, a Grammy nominee and Edison Music Award winner for Best Choral Recording. Recent conducting projects include Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Haydn’s Creation, Mozart’s Requiem, Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, J.S. Bach’s B Minor Mass, Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil and a collaboration with mezzo-soprano Susan Graham in Aaron Copland’s rarely-performed masterwork, In the Beginning. Highlights of the current season include performances of Duruflé’s Requiem with the Desert Chorale, Bach’s Magnificat and Mozart’s Requiem with the Berkshire Choral Festival and a European tour in summer 2014 with the Symphony Chorus. A passionate advocate for music education, Habermann has served on the faculties at San Francisco State University and the University of Miami and worked with young singers and conductors in masterclasses and workshops throughout the United States and abroad. He is currently an adjunct faculty member at the University of North Texas, where he teaches conducting and choral literature. A native of California, Habermann is a graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Texas at Austin, where he completed doctoral studies in conducting with Craig Hella Johnson. He lives in Dallas with his wife Joanna, daughter Kira and son Kai.

About Classical Movements:

Moving the Music, Changing the World

The premier concert tour company for the world’s great orchestras and choirs, Classical Movements creates meaningful cultural experiences through music in 145 countries. An industry leader for over a quarter-century, Classical Movements fully understands both the travel and the performance needs of professional symphonies and choruses, as well as conservatory, university and youth ensembles. Producer of two international choral festivals — Serenade! in Washington, D.C. and Ihlombe! in South Africa — and the Prague Summer Nights: Young Artists Music Festival, in addition, Classical Movements organizes more than 60 tours every year, producing some 200 concerts every season. Distinguished clients include many of America’s top-tier orchestras (Baltimore, Cincinnati, Minnesota, National, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis, etc.), international ensembles like the London Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar, Royal Concertgebouw, Wiener Philharmoniker and celebrated soloists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang and Joshua Bell. Also, Classical Movements’ Eric Daniel Helms New Music Program has commissioned over 50 works from Grammy, Oscar and Pulitzer Prize-winning composers. Winner of Americans for the Arts’ BCA10: Best Businesses Partnering with the Arts Award, since its founding 25 years ago, as a truly global company, Classical Movements remains committed to facilitating cultural diplomacy across the world — promoting peace through the medium of music. Classical Movements: Moving the Music, Changing the World.


Logan K. Young, Marketing and Public Relations Manager

+1 (703) 683–6040