On February 11 at 8 p.m. ET, PBS stations nationwide will broadcast “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement,” a concert that takes place in the White House East Room. President and Mrs. Obama will host the event in honor of Black History Month. Artists include Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Smokey Robinson, Seal, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and more. Morgan Freeman and Queen Latifah will serve as guest speakers. Additional artists may be announced in the coming days. (check local listings)
In Performance at the White House
“In Performance at the White House” has been produced by WETA since 1978 and spans every administration since President Carter’s. The series began with an East Room recital by the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz. Since then, “In Performance at the White House” has embraced virtually every genre of American performance: pop, country, gospel, jazz, blues, theatre and dance among them. The series was created to showcase the rich fabric of American culture in the setting of the nation’s most famous home. Past programs have showcased such talent as cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, dancer/choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov, country music singer Merle Haggard, the United States Marine Band, soul singer Aretha Franklin, leading Broadway performers, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is named in honor of the legendary George and Ira Gershwin. This award recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world’s culture. The prize is given annually to a composer or performer whose lifetime contributions exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwins. The first Gershwin Prize was awarded to Paul Simon in May 2007.