This year, the Kennedy Center for the Arts honored famous Canadian singer, Joni Mitchell, in a rare appearance on Sunday, with one of the most prestigious honors in American arts.
US President Joe Biden attended the annual tribute to the Kennedy Center for the Arts, which former President Donald Trump ignored during his four-year tenure.
The concert was attended by a number of singers, including Norah Jones and Brittany Howard, who performed classic songs for Mitchell.
The center also honored actress, Bette Midler, and Berry Gordy, founder of Motown.
Stevie Wonder, who is among Gordy’s many discoveries, was a highlight of the four-hour star party in Washington, DC.
Smokey Robinson, who Gordy also discovered as a teenager, also introduced a song he wrote to the music mogul.
“I imagine I’m in a dream… it’s a wonderful dream,” Gordy told reporters on the red carpet.
In honor of Mitchell, Howard sang her old song “Both Sides Now”, Jones gave Mitchell two songs, “The Circle Game” and “Your Case”, and Brandi Carlyle sang “River”.
Mitchell’s appearance at the party came six years after she suffered from a brain aneurysm.
Among the other winners who received honors at the ceremony were writer, producer and actor Lorne Michaels, whose most famous work is the “Saturday Night Live” program. The center also honored opera singer, Justino Diaz.
Trump did not attend the ceremony during his four-year presidency, after a number of award recipients threatened to boycott the ceremony and not participate in Trump’s first year in office.
“So nice to see a presidential run again,” former comedian and honored David Letterman told the audience.
President Biden held an official reception for the honorees at the White House, and said, “To all the Kennedy Center award honorees past and present, thank you for sharing your gift with the nation and with the world.”
Paul Simon performed “America” for his friend Michaels, while opera singer Dennis Graves performed excerpts from the operas “Carmen” and “Faust” in honor of Diaz.
The 2020 concert was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last May, the center organized a number of small activities that required social distancing rules for honorees last year, including singer Joan Baez and actor Dick Van Dyck.
The Kennedy Center for the Arts has held an annual party in Washington, DC, since 1978, to celebrate art stars who have contributed throughout their artistic career to enriching American culture.
The Kennedy Center has a Special Honors Advisory Committee, made up of two members of the Board of Trustees as well as former honorees and distinguished artists.
An executive committee of the Board of Trustees selects the honored winners on the basis of excellence in the fields of music, dance, theatre, opera, film or television, then the honorable selections are announced at the annual ceremony.
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