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A note from Ken: 50 Years ago on the White House Lawn…

1. Close up of President Kennedy welcoming Interlochen founder and conductor Joseph E. Maddy, the Interlochen orchestra and dancers to the White House, 08-06-1962. 2. Interlochen dancers at the White House. This photo appeared on the front page of The New York Times on August 7, 1962.

Dear UMS Lobby Readers,

50 years ago today I was one of 117 lucky Interlochen Arts Camp orchestra members (French horn) and dancers who performed on the White House Lawn for President Kennedy and an audience of young people. Our hosts were the children of Kennedy Cabinet members. Our conductor was Interlochen founder and president, Dr. Joseph E. Maddy, and the program represented works by composers from many nations.

1. Interlochen dancers at the White House, 08-06-1962 performing Johann Strauss’s “Emperor’s Waltz.” 2. Interlochen campers having lunch on floor of East Room of White House with the children of Kennedy cabinet members. We picked up a plate of spaghetti in the State Dining Room and walked to the East Room, 08-06-1962.

Before the concert, President Kennedy gave a 5-minute speech on the importance of the arts in America and delivered it without any notes. I’ve attached the speech to this message. After the concert he greeted us in the Rose Garden and invited us to enjoy a spaghetti lunch sitting on the parquet floor of the East Room. My lunch companions were Kathy McNamara, daughter of the Secretary of Defense, and Peggy Rusk, daughter of the Secretary of State. An unforgettable experience!

Kennedy’s speech is really terrific. Take five minutes to listen to it.

President Kennedy speaking at the White House, 08-06-1962