April 22, 2013
JFK WELCOMED KENTUCKY MUSIC STUDENTS TO WHITE HOUSE 50 YEARS AGO TODAY
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) 50 years ago today, April 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy, filling in for the First Lady, welcomed music students from Kentucky to the White House.
The program, held on the South Lawn at the White House, was the sixth in a series of "Musical Programs for Youth by Youth" established by Mrs. Kennedy.
The students included the Berea College* Country Dancers, the Central Kentucky Youth Symphony Orchestra, and boys and girls from the Washington area.
Photo by Parkerdr (2009)
The dancers were conducted by Miss Ethel Capps and the orchestra led by Joseph Pival.
In his remarks before the performance, President Kennedy said...
"We are a very self-critical society. It is one of the factors of freedom which we value the most. We are, even though we hesitate to admit it, a cultural people and I hope we will be more so."
In reference to the students from Kentucky, JFK added...
"The students from Berea...have represented the United States in Latin America and shown the people abroad something of the very ancient and still modern quality of American life and folk dancing."
He called the orchestral students "The cream of musical talent."
The President then admitted that, as he had done in previous concerts, had to return to the Oval Office to work, but he promised that he would listen from there and "keep the door very wide open."
*Berea College, located South of Lexington, Kentucky, was founded by abolitionist John Gregg Fee in 1855. It became the 1st non-segregated coeducational college in the South.
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Today Berea has more than 1500 students who all are provided a full 4 year scholarship. The college offers 25 classes in DANCE and 9 DANCE GROUPS.
The college's emphasis on dance began in the 1920s under Oscar Gunkler.
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