JFK Plus 50 -- Passing the Torch
A Concert in Celebration of the Kennedy Presidency
Sunday, November 24, 2013
The Riverside Church, Nave 490 Riverside Drive, NY, NY
"We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard..." - JFK, Rice University, 1962
Once upon a time, now half a century ago, the United States briefly became the nation of dreams. The young president, John F. Kennedy, harnessed the best in us, to raise our eyes to the heavens by placing our feet on the Moon. The young preacher, martin Luther King, spoke to a quaarter million Americans in front of the Lincoln Memorial and sang of the promise of a future that he could see as clearly as he saw the faces of his fellow citizens that hot August afternoon.
In history, there have been the "happy few" that have understood that all true human greatness comes from poetry. At a ceremony in hornor of the poet Robert Frost on October 26th, 1963, Kennedy said, "When power leads man towards arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truth which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment."
That is why it is not only appropriate, but essential, to commemorate this 50th anniversary of the Kennedy Presidency with this concert, a musical offering that affirms Kennedy's idea that "a nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.