Kennedy Center Honors Five Outstanding Performers

Kennedy Center Honors Five Outstanding Performers

The annual Kennedy Center Honors Gala, which took place on December 8, 2013, will be televised Sunday December 29 on CBS. The celebration honors five outstanding people from the performing arts industry each year and this marks the 36th occasion for the event. Likened to a command performance for the Queen of England, this is no ordinary award show. The recipients are long time masters of their craft who have shown excellence and artistic achievement in their field for decades.

The Kennedy Center Honors Gala is almost an all day affair beginning with a social hour at the White House before the awards ceremony and show, followed by dinner and dancing. Limos, gowns and tuxes are in full array for this very special gathering of dignitaries and well known celebrities. A recipient of this award is most honored to be chosen and has the pleasure of sitting with the President and First Lady during the show. A smaller ceremony took place at the White House on December 7 where all honorees were presented with medallions for their achievement.

This year’s honorees include musicians Martina Arroyo, Billy Joel, Herbie Hancock and Carlos Santana, and actress Shirley MacLaine. Caroline Kennedy did not fly in from her post in Japan to host as she usually does, but has always been an active part of the honors from years past. Hosting in her absence was actress Glenn Close. To give things an air of fairness and even keel, Fox News host Bill O’ Reilly and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor were also presenters. Sotomayor has also been chosen to push the button to release the ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

The event takes place on the Kennedy Center Opera House stage and is an extravaganza of talent in all forms. Each year, tributes and special songs give the theatre an aura of warmth, while recognition of talented artists can easily bring an unexpected tear to the eye. Taking place during the holiday season makes it even more special and CBS does an outstanding job of producing the show.

The Kennedy Center Honors include Martina Arroyo, an opera star of worldwide fame and versatility. The 76 year old native of Harlem has been performing professionally before thousands since she was young. Billy Joel is the youngest recipient at age 64 and is a master song-writer and pianist. He toured with Elton John, a previous honoree, in 1994 and has produced a string of recognizable hits over the years. Herbie Hancock, age 73, is famous for his amazing blend of soul, blues, funk and jazz music. Trained as a child in classical piano, he developed an ear for jazz and started creating his own tunes to entertain the world.

Carlos Santana, from Mexico, seems to have been around forever as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. His run with fame took off, back in the days of Woodstock, and the 66 year old has not lost his love for loud shirts and fantastic musical trends. Shirley MacLaine, the long established motion picture actress, has waited a while to be honored as she has continued her brilliant acting career in recent times with Downton Abbey and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. MacLaine, age 79, is best know for movies such as Steel Magnolias, Postcards From the Edge and Terms of Endearment.

The honorees are chosen by a combination of votes and recommendations from the Kennedy Center’s board of trustees, past recipients and public suggestions. Even though taped previously, the show being televised on December 29 will be full of special highlights and memorable moments. For the artists who do what they love by playing music, singing, dancing or acting, to be honored with such recognition is worth more than words can express. Five outstanding performers being honored at the Kennedy Center is entertainment at its finest.

By: Roanne H. FitzGibbon


Kennedy Center  



12 Responses to "Kennedy Center Honors Five Outstanding Performers"

  1. Will   December 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    Who was the woman sitting behind Billy Joel?

    • Ann   December 31, 2013 at 7:43 am

      Ihave this same question! Hope someone answers. She looks familiar but I can’t place her.

  2. Mike Tyson   December 30, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    A little disappointed that Mike Tyson wasn’t nominated

  3. Betsy   December 30, 2013 at 11:29 am

    I was so excited to see Rufus in the audience and then thrilled when he took the stage. No offense to any of the afore mentioned honorees, but he just is my favorite performer. I wish he would tour a little more in the USA but I’m sure I’ll see him agan someday. Does President Obama
    chew Nicorette?

  4. Martin Morehead   December 30, 2013 at 5:35 am

    Where was Rob Thomas?, should have been there, would have raised the roof! Otherwise, as always, very entertaining.

    • Trisha   December 30, 2013 at 5:49 am

      Rob Thomas is the lead singer for Matchbox 21, arlis Santanna is well known for helping other artists- Michelle Branch, Oriana, who played with Michael Jacson and others. Hes a great man. Excuse my spelling on Orthiana’s name.

  5. Sharon   December 30, 2013 at 12:07 am

    Great show ! Who was man singing right after
    Garth Brooks singing Billy Joel songs?

    • Ann   December 31, 2013 at 7:42 am

      Rufus Wainwright

  6. Tova   December 29, 2013 at 11:28 pm

    Great show , who was the lady sitting behind Shirley Maclean ?

  7. Dan MELVILLE   December 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Missed seeing Caroline

  8. Trisha   December 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    What an awesome show! Loved it.

  9. Sadder but wiser   December 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm

    thank you for the best coverage of the upcoming event but I read tonight … so nice to see the event and its honorees receive the in depth coverage they deserve rather than a mere blurb


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