The choir will sing music written by Kansas composers or music that represents the state's ethnic groups at the Kansas State Day observance on Oct. 21.
"We got the acceptance letter in January, and oriented our spring program around the trip," said Rob Reid, artistic director and conductor for the choir.
Fifty singers from the 115-member Lawrence Civic Choir will make the three-day trip. On Oct. 19, the choir will go to a National Symphony and Choral Society concert at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and tour Mount Vernon. On Oct. 20, they will rehearse in the cathedral.
After their 30-minute performance Oct. 21, they will attend a reception and be taken on a tour of the cathedral. During the tour, they will see the Kansas seal on the floor, a Kansas bell in the bell tower, Kansas needlepoint on the kneeling benches and Kansas imagery on part of the tapestry hanging in the War Memorial Chapel.
The singers were nominated for the honor by Allen and Sandra Wiechert, co-chairs for the Kansas diocese for the National Cathedral Assn., a volunteer organization that helps promote and raise money for the cathedral.
Sandra Wiechert said the Lawrence Civic Choir was a natural fit for the cathedral: The choir performs sacred music and is nondenominational even though it performs often in churches.
"The Lawrence Civic Choir's focus is not any particular church and the members represent many faith backgrounds," she said.
In addition to the choir, Wiechert said the Rev. Joe Thompson, an 84-year-old deacon at Grace Cathedral in Topeka, will be the gospeller. Any Kansan can attend the service.
To prepare for the trip, the Lawrence Civic Choir will perform a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday that includes many of the compositions they'll be playing in Washington. The concert is in Corpus Christi Catholic Church, 6001 W. 15th St.
In response to the recent terrorist attacks and the choir's commitment to peace in the world, Reid said the choir will open with "America the Beautiful."
The first segment of the concert includes "Ave Maria" by Sergei Rachmaninoff and "Os justi meditabitur" by Anton Bruckner. The Kansas section includes "Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord" by Kirke Mechem; "Take My Hand and Lead Me" by Friedrich Silcher; "Psalm 90" by Lawrence resident Geoffrey Wilcken; "There is a Balm in Gilead," an African-American spiritual; and "And the Father Will Dance Over You in Joy" by Mark Hayes.
The concert concludes with "Dona Nobis Pacem," a traditional round; "Laudamus Te" from "Gloria" by Francis Poulenc; "All That Hath Life and Breath Praise Ye the Lord" by Rene Clausen; and "River in Judea" arranged by John Leavitt.
-- Features-arts editor Jan Biles can be reached at 832-7146.