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The President and First Lady Host: In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement

Posted by: Audiegrl

February 9, 2010 marked the beginning of the 2010 White House music series with “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” – a concert celebrating Black History month.

Earlier that day, the White House also hosted a “Music that Inspired the Movement” workshop. High school students from across the country participate in a workshop to learn about how music influenced the Civil Rights Movement.

Robert Santelli, the executive director of The GRAMMY Museum, and Smokey Robinson, the legendary Motown singer, will facilitate the workshop with performances by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, one of the original Freedom Singers in the 1960s who traveled around the country carrying stories in song of local Civil Rights Movement campaigns to national audiences. Other artists participated as well, including: John Legend, John Mellencamp, and Toshi Reagon.

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In the evening, the President and First Lady hosted the “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” concert, featuring songs from the Civil Rights Movement as well as readings from famous Civil Rights speeches and writings with participants including Yolanda Adams, Joan Baez, Natalie Cole, Bob Dylan, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend, John Mellencamp, Smokey Robinson, Seal, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Howard University Choir and The Freedom Singers, featuring Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, Rutha Harris, Charles Neblett, Toshi Reagon and more. Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Queen Latifah and Joanne Woodward will be guest speakers.

“The civil rights movement was a movement sustained by music,” Obama said as he welcomed his audience.

He said activists from coast to coast were inspired by spirituals, felt their will sharpened by protest songs and base broadened by artists of hope. He said their work paved the way toward a more just America that allowed him to make history in 2008 with his election.

“Tonight, we celebrate the music of the movement,” Obama said.

Singer Yolanda Adams’ moving rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” was an early highlight of a night filled with amazing performances.

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The celebration was supposed to come on Wednesday, but faced with another major winter storm the White House decided to move the concert ahead by a day to beat what could be a second crippling snowfall in a week. As guests packed the first floor of the executive mansion, heavy snow landed on the South Lawn and blanketed the rest of Washington.

Morgan Freeman

Actor and activist Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman, who read excerpts from historical works throughout the night, harkened back to the song lyrics Obama invoked during his election-night victory speech in Chicago’s Grant Park.

“A long time coming,” Freeman said.

He later deadpanned: “I wish I could sing.”

Obama said the music helped the movement’s faith as their leaders were jailed and their churches bombed.

“It’s hard to sing when times are rough,” Obama said. “The hymns helped … advance the cause of the nation.”

The concert was to be televised at 8 p.m. Thursday on public broadcasting stations nationwide as part of the “In Performance at the White House” series. National Public Radio also planned a one-hour concert special from the event to be broadcast nationwide on NPR stations beginning Friday.

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Looking for more stories on the First Lady? Check out our brand new section: FLOTUS: All Things Michelle Obama

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Noel Coward’s Star Quality to Light Up Academy Gallery

Posted by: Audiegrl

Noel Coward by Edward Sorel

Noel Coward by Edward Sorel

Star Quality: I don’t know what it is, but I’ve got it,” said Noel Coward in his inimitable style, cigarette in hand and a twinkle in his eye. The life and career of playwright, composer, director and actor Noel Coward will be celebrated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a new touring exhibition, “Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward,” opening on Saturday, January 23, in the Academy’s Fourth Floor Gallery in Beverly Hills. Admission is free.

Coward is well known as the creator of such stage classics as Hay Fever, Private Lives, Cavalcade, Design for Living and Blithe Spirit, many of which were adapted for film, and as the composer of such timeless songs as “I’ll See You Again,” “Mad About the Boy” and “Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” “Star Quality” will be the first exhibition to show the full extent of Coward’s talents as a director of plays and movies, a stage and film actor, songwriter, cabaret artist, wartime patriot, painter and patron of charitable causes.

Noel Coward and stage partner Gertrude Lawrence 1936

Noel Coward and stage partner Gertrude Lawrence 1936

With unparalleled access to the Coward Archives, and drawing on public and private collections in Europe and the U.S. as well as the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library, the exhibition brings together dozens of rare photographs, drawings, paintings, original manuscripts, letters, sheet music, posters, playbills, set and costume designs, personal memorabilia, audio and video clips, and original costumes, including several of the silk dressing gowns that became Coward’s trademark. Coward’s friendships with many of the 20th century’s leading artists and film personalities also are documented throughout the exhibition, as are his contributions to the film world through his on-screen appearances and the numerous film adaptations of his stage work.

Noel Coward and Judy Garland 1951

Noel Coward and Judy Garland 1951

Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward,” is presented in association with the Noël Coward Foundation and the Museum of Performance & Design in San Francisco. The Academy’s installation has been guest curated by Brad Rosenstein and Rosy Runciman; the original exhibition was conceived and developed at Ten Chimneys by Erika Kent. Rosenstein will lead a public gallery talk at the Academy on Saturday, January 23, at 3 p.m. No reservations are required.

Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward” will be on display through Sunday, April 18. The Academy’s Fourth Floor Gallery is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills and is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 6 p.m. For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit http://www.oscars.org.

Stephen Fry, Michael York and Pat York attend the opening of the exhibition Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward presented by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences at the Academys Fourth Floor Gallery in Beverly Hills on Friday, January 22, 2010

Stephen Fry, Michael York and Pat York attend the opening of the exhibition Star Quality: The World of Noel Coward presented by The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences at the Academys Fourth Floor Gallery in Beverly Hills on Friday, January 22, 2010

44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars® Main PageBack to 44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars® Main Page

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