By Andrew Gans
09 Dec 2013
The honorees were celebrated Dec. 8 at a gala evening at the Kennedy Center Opera House.
Performers and presenters included Kathy Bates, Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Terence Blanchard, Garth Brooks, Joseph Calleja, Terri Lyne Carrington, Vinnie Colaiuta, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Sheila E, Sutton Foster, James Genus, Chantelle Grant, Ryan Speedo Green, Buddy Guy, Don Henley, Dave Holland, Juanes, Anna Kendrick, Robert Kerr, Lionel Loueke, Marcus Miller, Patina Miller, Mix Master Mike, Tom Morello, Karen Olivo, Bill O’Reilly, Fher Olvera, Aaron Parks, Sondra Radvanovsky, Joshua Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Arturo Sandoval, Wayne Shorter, Snoop Dogg, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Brendon Urie, Rufus Wainwright, Steve Winwood and Yuriy Yurchuck.
The starry evening will be broadcast on CBS as a two-hour primetime special Dec. 29 at 9 PM ET.
President and Mrs. Barack Obama were seated with the honorees in the Presidential Box of the Opera House at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, after hosting the traditional White House reception for the honorees.
Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe Award, Emmy Award and Tony Award-winning actress Glenn Close opened the festivities with a quote from 1980 Kennedy Center Honoree Agnes DeMille, who said, “The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.” Close continued, “This year we honor five who, throughout their lives, made creative leaps… landing on their feet, providing joy and enlightenment to millions. We proudly add their names to our signature wall. A songwriting lad from New York whose songs illuminate our lives and his fans crowned him America’s piano man. A wide-eyed girl from Harlem whose tenacity and sublime voice fueled a triumphal march to becoming a queen of Verdi opera. A Chicago prodigy who loved playing Gershwin and loved taking risks – exploring music’s far frontiers and becoming our very own Jazz Master-in-Chief. A captivating redhead from Virginia with legs up to here, a heart out to there, and a life too big for just one lifetime. A virtuoso who brought the passion of his beat to America, his supernatural guitar and his super sounds electrifying us from Woodstock to the White House. These are our 2013 Kennedy Center Honorees.”
Multiple Grammy Award, Emmy Award and Tony Award winner Harry Belafonte, a 1989 Kennedy Center Honoree, introduced the tribute to his longtime friend, multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy Award-winning musician Carlos Santana. “I tell you folks, there’s no two ways about it, we have got to do something about Mexican immigration. Every day you have people like Carlos Santana coming into this country and taking jobs that should be going to… to Americans!” he joked. Belafonte continued, “Carlos Santana is now a citizen of the world. He belongs to all of us. And while he hasn’t transcended race and origin – really, who of us does? – he has continued to be informed by the immigrant experience and the journey to the American dream. I think that’s why his music is so filled with joy and passion… and his heart is filled with love and generosity. Even without the music, Carlos Santana would be an essential humanitarian… but with the music… well, he is a god. His music tells us to be happy, to get up and move and not just side to side, but to get up and move mountains. It tells us to love. And what a privilege it is tonight to give back some of that love to my friend, Carlos Santana.”
The musical portion of the tribute commenced with a vibrant introduction by the Rob Mathes All Star Band of “Soul Sacrifice,” followed by an exciting performance medley of “Corazon Espinado,” “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va,” with vocalist Fher Olvera, multiple Grammy Award winner Juanes on vocals and electric guitar, and guitarist Tom Morello. Next, blues legend Buddy Guy, a multiple Grammy Award winner and 2012 Kennedy Center Honoree, performed “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man.” Finally, Grammy Award-winning musician Steven Winwood and Grammy Award-nominated recording artist Sheila E gave the audience an exhilarating rendition of “Everybody’s Everything,” which concluded the performances in honor of Carlos Santana.