The other night I watched the televised Kennedy Center Honors. (You can view the entire show here.) What an amazing night! The honorees were James Taylor, singer Mavis Staples, pianist Martha Argerich, actor Al Pacino, and The Eagles.
2016 Kennedy Center Honorees pose for a group photo after a gala dinner at the U.S. State Department, in Washington, U.S., December 3, 2016. From L-R: (seated) actor Al Pacino, singer Mavis Staples, pianist Martha Argerich, singer-songwriter James Taylor; (standing) members of rock band Eagles, Joe Walsh, Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit. REUTERS/Mike Theiler – RTSUJND
Along with the rest of the audience, Michele and President Obama rocked out to various artists who performed the work of the honorees. They sang along to rock classics, including Fire and Rain, Hotel California, and Life in the Fast Lane. I laughed when I saw that even Obama was singing along with that last one.
To honor Martha Argerich, pianist Yuja Wang played Piazzola Grand Tango. I wasn’t familiar with Wang or the piece she played, but what a powerful and emotion-filled performance! Then violinist Itzhak Perlman (who I am familiar with and love) and pianist Yefim Bronfman performed a Beethoven Sonata for Violin and Piano. Simply beautiful and very moving.
It was fun seeing clips of all Al Pacino’s movies, and segments from movies, comedy skits, etc., that were inspired by his acting and the roles he played. One of our greatest actors!
And then there’s Mavis Staples, her own songs and the ones she made famous with the Staple Singers. Bonnie Raitt and Andra Day, backed by a gospel choir, sang the civil rights movement anthem We Shall Not Be Moved, which, unfortunately, is still relevant today, and not only for African Americans, but for women, the LGBT community, and all non-whites.
But the song that still echoes in my head is James Taylor’s Shower the People, performed by Garth Brooks. On this New Year’s Eve, throughout 2017, and beyond, I will replay that song in my head and in my heart. Love can conquer hate.
Shower the people you love with love, show them the way you feel.
Things are gonna be much better if you only will.
Happy New Year!