Notice to the Press
Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 29, 2009


Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Judith McHale will join the Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, in cooperation with the State of the Arts Cultural Series, to present a concert by Alvin Atkinson and the Sound Merchants, on Wednesday, July 1, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., in the Department’s Dean Acheson Auditorium. The Under Secretary will make remarks from 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. The concert for Department employees celebrates the quartet’s successful five-week tour to Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Armenia in March and April 2009 that launched “Musical Overtures,” a new cultural initiative to send musical quartets on tour to promote mutual understanding and to strengthen America’s ties with nations involved in or recovering from conflict, or facing other challenges.

Alvin Atkinson and the Sound Merchants will perform their unique mix of jazz and blues with rhythms from around the world. During the concert the band will share personal experiences and present a slide show about the tour.

This entire event is open for press coverage. Media representatives without a Department of State building pass should enter through the 23rd Street entrance.

Camera Pre-set Time: Noon
Writers and Still Photographers: Please arrive by 12:15 p.m.

Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver’s license, passport). Media representatives should allow adequate time to process through security to be in the event venue 10 minutes prior to the start of the event.

If planning to cover, please contact David C. Grier, 202-203-7007 or GrierDC@state.gov , or
Catherine Stearns, 202-203-5107 or StearnsCL@state.gov.

For more information about Musical Overtures or other cultural diplomacy programs of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, visit http://exchanges.state.gov/cultural/index.html.



PRN: 2009/657