WASHINGTON, D.C. — “Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House” is a PBS music special taped in the East Room of the White House, celebrating the great “foremothers” of American music, with songs expressing the struggles and achievements of women. President and Mrs. Obama will host the event on Thursday, March 6, 2014. The all-star concert will include performances by Tessanne Chin, Melissa Etheridge, Aretha Franklin, Ariana Grande, Patti LaBelle, Janelle Monáe and Jill Scott, with Greg Phillinganes as music director. (Program subject to change.) The program, part of the Emmy Award-nominated “In Performance at the White House” series, is the fifty-second production in the series’ thirty-six years. This will be the first time “In Performance at the White House” features an all-female line-up. The sixty-minute television special is produced by WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, in association with AEG Ehrlich Ventures and The GRAMMY Museum®. “Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House” will premiere Monday, April 7 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide. (Check local listings.)
“Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House” will be a celebration of American women artists whose work has left an indelible and profound impact on our national musical culture, across Blues, Jazz, Soul, Rhythm and Blues and Rock and Roll. The evening will pay homage to trailblazing female artists and their memorable songs.
The concert, including President Obama’s remarks, will be available for press via the White House Press Corps pool feed and streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov and www.pbs.org/whitehouse. The program will also be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.
“WETA is pleased to join the White House in celebrating the power and legacy of the female voice,” stated Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA. “Through the ‘In Performance at the White House’ series, public broadcasting and WETA continue to preserve and honor the diverse history of our country, which music captures so beautifully, and bring it to the national stage.”
“This will be the first time that the ‘In Performance at the White House’ series concert will consist solely of female vocalists,” said Paula A. Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. “The stories and music of women artists are an important part of our cultural history, and one we are proud to highlight as part of ‘In Performance at the White House.’”
“We are pleased to support ‘In Performance at the White House’ and the cultural influence female singers have as storytellers of the American experience,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. “Through public media that informs, educates, inspires and entertains, we are delighted to bring this shared part of our nation’s heritage to the local communities we serve.”
Educational Program with the White House
In addition to the evening concert, the morning of the concert taping the White House will host “I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul,” an educational workshop for 124 middle school, high school and college-level students from across the country, held in the State Dining Room. The event will be produced by The GRAMMY Museum® and led by Robert Santelli, executive director of The GRAMMY Museum® in Los Angeles. Santelli is a leading musicologist and music educator who will give the students an overview of the impact of women’s music on the country, discuss important artists from throughout its history, and explore the struggles and the achievements of women in American music. Santelli will be joined by special musical guests Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge and Janelle Monáe, who will share their experiences as well as answer students’ questions. The White House “I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul” workshop will be streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov/live.
“I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul” will be accompanied by a broader educational program, also developed by The GRAMMY Museum®, consisting of visits to Greater Washington-area institutions and a special student press conference where student journalists will be able to question production staff for articles in their school or local newspaper. In addition, The GRAMMY Museum® will offer downloadable curriculum and educational materials for middle and high school teachers, available at www.grammymuseum.org and www.pbs.org/whitehouse. This is the seventh educational workshop at the White House that The GRAMMY Museum® has organized, in cooperation with the “In Performance at the White House” concert series.
“In Performance at the White House” Series
“Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House” will be the twelfth “In Performance at the White House” program during President Barack Obama’s administration. From February 2009 to the most recent broadcast in May 2013, these latest “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 from 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, Lyle Lovett, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Sam Moore, Mike Myers, 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, popular music singers Linda Ronstadt and Alison Krauss, the United States Marine Band, soul and jazz singers Natalie Cole and Anita Baker, leading Broadway performers, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem.
“Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House” Production
“Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House” is a production of WETA Washington, D.C., in association with AEG Ehrlich Ventures and The GRAMMY Museum®. The executive producers are Dalton Delan and David S. Thompson for WETA; and Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of The GRAMMY Awards®, and Robert Santelli, executive director of The GRAMMY Museum®, for AEG Ehrlich Ventures. The producer is the GRAMMY Awards® producer Renato Basile and the director is Leon Knoles. The music director is Greg Phillinganes. 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 Pepsi-Cola. Individual support is from Corey Brunish. Foundation support is provided by The Annenberg Foundation and the Anne Ray Charitable Trust. Major funding is also provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers.
For more information about “Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House” visit www.pbs.org/whitehouse. An electronic press kit, including downloadable talent photos for promotional use, is available at www.pressroom.pbs.org. To follow “In Performance at the White House” on Twitter, use hashtag #PBSipwh.
WETA Washington, D.C., is the second-largest producing station of new content for public television. Other WETA productions and co-productions include “PBS NewsHour,” “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill,” “The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize” and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including the premiere this September of “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.” More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at www.weta.org.
The GRAMMY Museum® pays tribute to music’s rich cultural history. This one-of-a-kind, 21st-century Museum explores and celebrates the enduring legacies of all forms of music, the creative process, the art and technology of the recording process, and the history of the premier recognition of excellence in recorded music — the GRAMMY Award. The GRAMMY Museum® features 30,000 square feet of interactive and multimedia exhibits located within L.A. LIVE, the downtown Los Angeles sports, entertainment and residential district. Through thought-provoking and dynamic public and educational programs and exhibits, guests will experience music from a never-before-seen insider perspective that only The GRAMMY Museum® can deliver. More information is available at www.grammymuseum.org.
AEG Ehrlich Ventures is one of the leading television production companies in the field of award shows, live events and music related programming. For more than 25 years, no individual has produced more music related and non-traditional programming for television, as well as single and multi-artist and concept specials for network, cable, syndication and home video programming than Ken Ehrlich. With hundreds of hours of highly acclaimed specials to his credit, from the annual GRAMMY Awards®, which he has produced since 1980, to a yearly slate of award shows including his sixth and most recent Emmy Awards show in 2013, Ehrlich’s credits are unmatched. Ehrlich began his career with public broadcaster WTTW in Chicago, creating and producing the seminal music series “Soundstage.” More recently for public broadcasting, he co-produced “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” in 2010, which had the White House debut of Bob Dylan, “In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues” in 2012 and most recently “Memphis Soul: In Performance at the White House” in 2013. AEG Ehrlich Ventures is led by Ken Ehrlich, and is a division of AEG, one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. More information is available at www.aegworldwide.com.
PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 109 million people through television and over 28 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, www.pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at www.pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,400 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services. More information about CPB is available at www.cpb.org.
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