I’m not talking about wealth here; on the contrary, I’d like to point out something free that very few people (perhaps 1%?) even know exists. During my time at the university, I’ve only heard this mentioned twice: once from a student and once from a professor.
Every day, at exactly 6 p.m., the Kennedy Center hosts a free performance open to the public as part of its Millennium Stage program. Performances range from puppet shows for kids to jazz concerts to poetry readings in sign language. A few minutes with the calender of events will leave even the pickiest theater-goer satisfied. Unfortunately, as I take my seat and look around, I seem to be the only college-age person in the theater (Dixieland jazz, anyone?).
This isn’t to say that college students don’t ever go to the Kennedy Center, though. Sophomore Madison Noble says she’s been going to performances since freshman year. “My favorite was a classical guitar performance,” Noble said. She enjoyed the shows at the Millennium Stage because she used to go to similar shows with her parents. “More people should go,” Noble added. But going to the Kennedy Center on a regular basis makes her a minority in the GW community.
It’s a pity that so few people take advantage of a DC staple that’s only a few blocks away. It’s a bit silly not to, since the shows are free. However, in tough academic moments (like midterms and finals), students feel short on time.
“I don’t have time to go to Kennedy Center shows,” freshman Sukhman Khera said. “My free time is spent catching up on other activities.” Fortunately, Millennium Stage performances are posted online, too. It’s nothing like being at the venue of course, but it’s a good way to see which performances you might be interested in, as several past acts are now regulars. Shows typically last about an hour, providing plenty of time to enjoy other parts of DC over the course of an evening (or study the night away in Gelman, as might often be the case).
As for me, I’m going to enjoy my jazz performance tonight. Maybe next time the band comes to town, I’ll see more students in the theater.