Aretha Franklin, Shirely Caesar and more headline White House Gospel special

aretha-franklin-thelonious-perf-a-l“The Gospel Tradition: In Performance at the White House” showcases an
evening of celebration with President and Mrs. Obama at the White House in
honor of gospel music and its profound influence on American music. The
concert broadcast premieres Friday, June 26 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations
nationwide (check local listings) and will also be simulcast on cable channel
TV One. The evening includes performances by Bishop Rance Allen, Pastor
Shirley Caesar, Rodney Crowell, Aretha Franklin, Rhiannon Giddens, Emmylou
Harris, Darlene Love, Lyle Lovett, Tamela Mann, the Morgan State University
Choir and Michelle Williams — with T Bone Burnett as executive music
director, Bill Maxwell as music director and Robin Roberts as program host.
The hour-long program, taped on April 14, 2015, is part of the Emmy
Award-nominated “In Performance at the White House” series.  It is the
fifty-fourth production in the series’ thirty-seven year history.  

“The Gospel Tradition: In Performance at the White House” showcases a
canon of American music that cuts across the boundaries of race and class to
provide comfort and inspiration to its listeners. Gospel music has also been
a foundation upon which popular music — from the blues, soul, rhythm and
blues, and rock and roll — has been built. 

 “It is a great privilege to join the White House in honoring the gospel
tradition and its extraordinary contributions to our nation’s rich musical
history,” said Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA.
“Through our long-running series ‘In Performance at the White House,’
we are committed to showcasing the vibrant cultural life of the nation on
behalf of the American people.”

 [Marker]“‘In Performance at the White House’ has brought some of the
greatest performers of our time to a national stage, providing viewers a
front row seat~to extraordinary music,” said Paula Kerger, PBS president
and CEO. “I am especially excited about this concert, which~will
celebrate~a genre with rich roots and multifaceted history in this country.
This presentation~is part of PBS’ ongoing~commitment~to bring the best in
arts and performances to our viewers.”

“CPB is proud to support a program celebrating American gospel music with
roots in the black oral tradition,” said Patricia Harrison, president and
CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). “‘In Performance at
the White House’ is a true example of how public media affirms
entertainment that inspires, uplifts and connects in meaningful ways to every

“The gospel tradition, which has its roots in the African-American
community, has lifted up so many, promising hope whether through the everyday
travails of life or some of our nation’s most turbulent times,” noted
Brad Siegel, president of TV One. “We’re proud to be partners with WETA
and public broadcasting in celebrating this uniquely American institution at
the White House and with the American public.”

“In Performance at the White House” Series
“The Gospel Tradition: In Performance at the White House” will be the
fourteenth “In Performance at the White House” program during President
Barack Obama’s administration.  From February 2009 to the most recent
broadcast in November 2014, “In Performance at the White House” events
have honored the musical genius of Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt
Bacharach, Hal David and Carole King; celebrated Hispanic musical heritage
during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month with events
featuring the music of Motown, Memphis Soul, the Blues, and the Civil Rights
Movement; explored the rich roots of Country music; and spotlighted Broadway
and the unique spirit of the American musical. The star-studded line-ups have
included Marc Anthony, Tony Bennett, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan,
Jamie Foxx, José Feliciano, Dave Grohl, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock, Faith
Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Mick Jagger, Jonas Brothers, B.B. King, Alison Krauss,
Nathan Lane, John Legend, Eva Longoria, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Sam
Moore, Mike Myers, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Darius Rucker, Seal, Jerry
Seinfeld, Esperanza Spalding, Elaine Stritch, James Taylor, Justin Timberlake
and Jack White.

“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, 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, the United States Marine Band, soul
and jazz singers Natalie Cole and Anita Baker, leading Broadway performers,
and the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

“The Gospel Tradition: In Performance at the White House” Production
The television program “The Gospel Tradition: In Performance at the White
House” is a production of WETA Washington, D.C.; TV One; CoMedia; Mark
Krantz Productions; Cappy Productions; and Black and White TV Inc. Executive
producers are Dalton Delan, David S. Thompson, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky,
Mark Krantz and Cappy McGarr. The producer is Eileen Bernstein. Robert
Santelli is executive director of the GRAMMY Museum®. Geovanni Brewer is
consulting producer. The director is Leon Knoles. The executive music
director is T Bone Burnett and the music director is Bill Maxwell. The “In
Performance at the White House” series was created by WETA Washington, D.C.
The series producer is Jackson Frost. Corporate funding for the program is
provided by PepsiCo. Foundation support is provided by The Annenberg
Foundation. Major funding is also provided by the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers. Air travel is generously
provided by American Airlines. 

For more information about “The Gospel Tradition: In Performance at the
White House” visit:


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