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State Dept. Seeks Jazz Ambassadors

Lucky you: the U.S. Department of State wants to send you on an all-expenses paid trip to various foreign locales in 2005. But they only want to send you away if you’re in a jazz quartet. A good jazz quartet. One that likes to get freaky with the Latin rhythms.

Since the late 1990s, the Department of State has teamed with the Kennedy Center to find a few jazz groups that they can dress up in the red, white and blue and send to foreign countries as Jazz Ambassadors, musicians who will share our indigenous improvised music with the rest of the world.

This year they’re looking for eight quartets to send to places like Africa, Latin America, the Near East, Central/South Asia, and the East Asia/Pacific region in 2005 for various four- to six-week tours. In addition to concert performances, the chosen bands will conduct master classes and lecture-recitals for foreign musicians. The Department of State will provide all traveling expenses and a modest honorarium for each musician. Prior to departure, each 2005 Jazz Ambassadors quartet will be presented in a free concert on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage in Washington, D.C.

Think your band has what it takes? Here are the official rules for application, straight from the Dept. of State and the Kennedy Center:

2005 Jazz Ambassadors auditions are open to jazz quartets. Applicants must be United States citizens at least 21 years of age. Successful applicants must demonstrate the highest artistic and musical ability and be conversant with broader aspects of contemporary American culture. They must also be adaptable to the rigorous tours through areas of the world where travel and performance conditions may be difficult. Applications, due May 28, 2004, are available from the Kennedy Center Jazz Program and also can be downloaded from the Kennedy Center web site: After a review of applications, qualified quartets will be invited to audition in early July. Auditions will be held in August and September with specific dates and locations to be announced. For further information or to request an application, please contact:

Jazz Ambassadors

The Kennedy Center Education Department

2700 F St NW

Washington, DC 20566-0001

Tel (202) 416-8348

Fax (202) 416-8802

email: [email protected]

Originally Published