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John to Perform at The White House on Feb. 10
01.27.2010 - John returns to Washington, D.C. to sing with the likes of Bob Dylan and Smokey Robinson when The 2010 White House Music Series begins on Wednesday, February 10. He will also perform earlier that day at a companion workshop.

Hosted by President and Mrs. Obama in the White House East Room, the “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” concert event will celebrate Black History month. Other artists slated to perform include Natalie Cole, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, Seal, the Blind Boys of Alabama and the Howard University Choir, with Morgan Freeman and Queen Latifah serving as emcees.

John will sing the hymn “Keep Your Eyes On the Prize,” which became a major Civil Rights anthem and has been recorded by the likes of Duke Ellington featuring Mahalia Jackson, Odetta, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, and Mavis Staples. He will be accompanied by T Bone Burnett.

The concert will be taped live by public TV station WETA Washington, D.C., to air Feb. 11 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide. Following opening remarks from the President, it will feature songs from the Civil Rights Movement as well as readings from famous Civil Rights speeches and writings.

“The songs of the Civil Rights Movement capture the spirit of that critical period so memorably,” said National Black Programming Consortium executive director Jacquie Jones. “To honor these songs at the White House and in a broadcast during Black History Month is a testament to that historic period in the American story, one that continues to change our lives.”

Mrs. Obama will also host a “Music that Inspired the Movement” workshop for 120 high school students from across the country that afternoon from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET. John, Smokey Robinson and John Legend will be there to relate personal stories about the music and sing the songs they’ll perform later that night in an “unplugged” context. The artists’ presence and participation will demonstrate the continuing relevance of music from the Civil Rights Movement to today’s generation--and its original impact in the 1960s.

This event will take place in the State Dining Room and be streamed live on www.whitehouse.gov  for students all over the country.

John, of course, has long championed Civil Rights in his songs throughout his career. His performance at the White House marks a return to Washington a year after his participation in the historic “We Are One” concert at the Lincoln Memorial that kicked off President Obama’s inauguration festivities, where he and Andy York ripped into an exultant version of “Pink Houses” that had the huge crowd singing along with them and the Baptist choir behind them.

Incidentally, “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” is the third “In Performance at the White House” program during President Barack Obama’s administration (the series has been produced by WETA since 1978). A February 2009 event, “In Performance at the White House - Celebrating the Music of Stevie Wonder: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize,” honored musician Stevie Wonder’s receipt of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, and an October 2009 concert, “In Performance at the White House: Fiesta Latina,” was broadcast nationwide during National Hispanic Heritage Month and celebrated Hispanic musical heritage artists including Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan and José Feliciano. Additional information is available at  In Performance At The White House
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