WASHINGTON, D.C. — One hundred and twenty-four middle school, high school and college-level students from across the country will participate in a History of Women in Soul Music educational program at the White House on Thursday, March 6. In conjunction with the PBS music special “Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House,” First Lady Michelle Obama will host “I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul,” a student workshop that will take place in the State Dining Room.
The event will be produced by The GRAMMY Museum® and led by Robert Santelli, the museum’s executive director. A leading musicologist and music educator, Santelli will give the participating students an overview of the origins of soul music, inform them of important artists, discuss the social climate of the United States in the 1950s and 1960s as it pertains to women’s rights, and dissect the elements of soul that helped contribute to the genre’s unique sound. Santelli will be joined by special music guests Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge and Janelle Monáe, who will also appear in the concert later that evening under the musical direction of Greg Phillinganes. During the workshop, these artists will share their experiences and answer student questions. The White House “I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul” workshop will be streamed live Thursday, March 6 at 11 a.m. ET at www.whitehouse.gov/live.
Participating students are from the following schools or programs from eleven communities: Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi; Eddyville Charter School in Eddyville, Oregon; Youth Villages in Memphis, Tennessee; YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities in Minneapolis, Minnesota; All Hallows High School in New York, New York; Youth UpRising in Oakland, California; Olney Charter High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Maryland; Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring, Maryland; Nanakuli High and Intermediate School in Waiʻanae, Hawaiʻi; and Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C.
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. Previous workshops include 2011’s “The Sound of Young America: The History of Motown,” 2012’s “At the Crossroads: A History of the Blues in America,” and 2013’s “Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul.” The White House “I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul” workshop 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. The workshop will also be supplemented with a curriculum and additional educational materials from The GRAMMY Museum’s education department, and the White House’s live stream will be available for students from around the country to watch in their classrooms. A downloadable curriculum and educational materials for middle and high school teachers will be available at www.grammymuseum.org.
“Women of Soul: In Performance at the White House,” the PBS music special in the East Room of the White House, will be taped the same day the workshop takes place. The program 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.
President and Mrs. Obama will host the concert on Thursday, March 6. The all-star event 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.) This will be the first time “In Performance at the White House” features an all-female line-up, in a series that spans six presidents, thirty-six years and fifty-two productions. The program will premiere Monday, April 7 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide. (Check local listings.) It 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.
“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. Funding for the educational workshop was provided in part by AEG Ehrlich Ventures, co-founders and developers of The GRAMMY Museum®, which has provided a portion of the funding for the student travel.
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 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 Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” premiering this September on PBS stations nationwide. WETA’s headquarters is located in Arlington, Virginia. Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. 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.
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