White House to Welcome 60 Students for Music Educational Program

Oct 09, 2015


— “A Celebration of Song” Workshop Features Recording Artists
Smokey Robinson, Keb’ Mo’, MC Lyte, Esperanza Spalding and Trombone Shorty

Part of Educational Component Created by the GRAMMY Museum®
for Music Special that Airs January 8, 2016 on PBS and

You can also watch the livestream on Tuesday, October 14, 2015 at 11 a.m. ET at whitehouse.gov/live

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, October 14, 2015, more than 60 middle school students from the Greater Washington region will participate in an educational workshop at the White House, titled “A Celebration of Song.” In conjunction with the PBS music special “A Celebration of American Creativity: In Performance at the White House,” First Lady Michelle Obama will host the workshop, which will take place in the State Dining Room.

The event will be produced by the GRAMMY Museum® and led by Bob Santelli, the Museum’s Executive Director. A leading musicologist and music educator, Santelli will give participating students an overview of American cultural influences on music over the years, and songwriting techniques. Santelli will be joined by special musical guests Smokey Robinson, Keb’ Mo’, MC Lyte, Esperanza Spalding and Trombone Shorty, who will also appear in the concert later that evening. During the workshop, these artists will share their experiences and answer student questions about their songwriting process. The students will also participate interactively with the artists to write and perform their own songs during the workshop. The White House “A Celebration of Song” workshop will be streamed live Wednesday, October 14, 2015, at 11 a.m. ET at whitehouse.gov/live.

Students will participate in the workshop from the following three schools from the Greater Washington region: Saunders Middle School in Manassas, VA; Herndon Middle School in Herndon, VA; and Thomas G. Pullen K-8 Creative and Performing Arts School in Landover, MD.

This is the tenth 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 “Music That Inspired the Movement” (2010), “The Sound of Young America: The History of Motown” (2011); “At the Crossroads: A History of the Blues in America” (2012); “Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul” (2013); “I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul,” (2014), “The Stars and Stripes Forever: A History of Music and the Military” (2014); and “The History of Gospel Music” (2015). The White House workshop “A Celebration of Song” 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 interview 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 grammymuseum.org and pbs.org/whitehouse.

“A Celebration of American Creativity: In Performance at the White House” is a PBS music special featuring a concert in the East Room of the White House that will be taped the same day the workshop takes place. President and Mrs. Obama will host the all-star music tribute celebrating the cultural resonance of art and literature in unique American musical forms, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act that was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on September 29, 1965.

The song selections for the evening will draw from American-originated musical genres, including hip-hop, blues and the American Songbook, with performances by Buddy Guy, Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, Audra McDonald, Keb’ Mo’, Smokey Robinson, Trombone Shorty, Esperanza Spalding, Brian Stokes Mitchell, James Taylor and Usher, with special readings and remarks from Carol Burnett (program subject to change). “A Celebration of American Creativity: In Performance at the White House” will premiere Friday, January 8, 2016 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings), as part of PBS Arts.

The television program “A Celebration of American Creativity: In Performance at the White House” is a production of WETA Washington, D.C.; CoMedia; Mark Krantz Productions; and Cappy Productions. Executive producers are Dalton Delan, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, Mark Krantz and Cappy McGarr. Bob Santelli is Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum. The director is Leon Knoles. The music director is Crispin Cioe. The “In Performance at the White House” series was created by WETA Washington, D.C. The series producer is Jackson Frost. Funding for the program is provided by the LBJ Foundation, David M. Rubenstein, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, the Howard Gilman Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Ford Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Spencer Foundation. Air travel is generously provided by American Airlines.

For more information about “A Celebration of American Creativity: In Performance at the White House,” visit 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.

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The GRAMMY Museum® is an independent, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created as a partnership  between The Recording Academy and AEG. Paying tribute to music’s rich cultural history, the 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 Museum® features 30,000 square feet of interactive permanent and traveling exhibits, with four floors of dynamic and engaging multimedia presentations, and is 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 grammymuseum.org. For breaking news and exclusive content, follow @TheGRAMMYMuseum on Twitter and Instagram, and like “The GRAMMY Museum” on Facebook.

WETA Washington, D.C., is one of the largest-producing stations of new content for public television in the United States and serves Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with educational initiatives and with high-quality programming on four digital television channels. Other WETA productions and co-productions include “PBS NewsHour,” “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill,” “The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize,” “The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” and the April 2016 premiere of “Jackie Robinson.” Sharon Percy Rockefeller is president and CEO. More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at weta.org.

Mark Krantz, Bob Kaminsky, Peter Kaminsky, and Cappy McGarr created “The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor,” which has honored a litany of comedy legends including Richard Pryor, Jonathan Winters, George Carlin, Tina Fey and Carol Burnett and is now in its eighteenth year. Krantz, the Kaminskys and McGarr, with Dalton Delan of WETA, also created “The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” in which similarly all-star casts have honored Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, Carole King and the team of Bacharach/David. Among this team’s production credits for awards ceremonies and television shows (many of them head writing credits as well) are: “The Grammy’s”; “Farm Aid” (with Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead); the “MTV Video Music Awards” (the VMA’s); “VH-1 Hard Rock Live”; the “Montreal Comedy Festival” (HBO and Showtime); People magazine’s “20th Birthday” (ABC); Spy magazine’s “How To Be Famous” starring Jerry Seinfeld; Spy magazine’s “Hit List” with Julia-Louis Dreyfus (NBC); the Carnegie Hall Tributes to Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Carol Burnett; the Museum of the Moving Image tributes to Steven Spielberg and Robin Williams; “The Songwriter’s Hall of Fame” (with James Brown, Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, Carole King and James Taylor); “The Toyota New York Comedy Festival”; “The New Yorker Magazine Festival”; and The President’s Summit For America’s Future (with Presidents Clinton, Ford, George H.W. Bush, Carter, Nancy Reagan and Colin Powell).

PBS, with 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 more than 103 million people through television and over 33 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, 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 pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the LBJ Presidential Library and the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. Through the fundraising efforts of its Board of Trustees, the Foundation provides support to the Library that enhances quality programming, expands educational outreach and exhibits, and administers grants for researchers and scholars. The Foundation also raises money to support the LBJ School, which provides its graduate students an outstanding education in public policy and governmental affairs, community outreach, and the exploration of global initiatives. These two institutions, one looking to the past and the other to the future, provide an ongoing legacy for President Johnson’s accomplishments and his vision for our nation. For more information, visit lbjlibrary.org.