“The Gospel Tradition: In Performance at the White House” showcases an evening of celebration with President and Mrs. Obama at the White House in honor of gospel music and its profound influence on American music. The concert broadcast, featuring a moving performance by Tamela Mann, premieres Friday, June 26 at 9 p.m. ET on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings) and will also be simulcast on cable channel TV One.
The stellar line-up of stars performing also includes Bishop Rance Allen, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Rodney Crowell, Aretha Franklin, Rhiannon Giddens, Emmylou Harris, Darlene Love, Lyle Lovett, the Morgan State University Choir and Michelle Williams – with T Bone Burnett as executive music director, Bill Maxwell as music director and Robin Roberts as program host. The hour-long program, taped on April 14, 2015, is part of the Emmy Award-nominated “In Performance at the White House” series. It is the fifty-fourth production in the series’ thirty-seven year history.
“The Gospel Tradition: In Performance at the White House” showcases a canon of American music that cuts across the boundaries of race and class to provide comfort and inspiration to its listeners. Gospel music has also been a foundation upon which popular music – from the blues, soul, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll – has been built.
“It is a great privilege to join the White House in honoring the gospel tradition and its extraordinary contributions to our nation’s rich musical history,” said Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA. “Through our long-running series ‘In Performance at the White House,’ we are committed to showcasing the vibrant cultural life of the nation on behalf of the American people.”
“‘In Performance at the White House’ has brought some of the greatest performers of our time to a national stage, providing viewers a front row seat to extraordinary music,” said Paula Kerger, PBS president and CEO. “I am especially excited about this concert, which will celebrate a genre with rich roots and multifaceted history in this country. This presentation is part of PBS’ ongoing commitment to bring the best in arts and performances to our viewers.”
“CPB is proud to support a program celebrating American gospel music with roots in the black oral tradition,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). “‘In Performance at the White House’ is a true example of how public media affirms entertainment that inspires, uplifts and connects in meaningful ways to every American.”
“The gospel tradition, which has its roots in the African-American community, has lifted up so many, promising hope whether through the everyday travails of life or some of our nation’s most turbulent times,” noted Brad Siegel, president of TV One. “We’re proud to be partners with WETA and public broadcasting in celebrating this uniquely American institution at the White House and with the American public.”