United in Song: Celebrating the Resilience of America, which was filmed in front of a small, socially distanced audience at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, premiered December 31 on PBS. Catch the full special below.
The 90-minute event featured Tony winners Audra McDonald and Brian Stokes Mitchell, Tony nominees Renée Fleming, Anna Deavere Smith, and Josh Groban, Broadway and recording artist Morgan James, Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, Grammy-winning violinist Joshua Bell, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, opera star Soloman Howard, Grammy and Latin Grammy winner Juanes, Grammy winner Patti LaBelle, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet.
The evening also included The American Pops Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Luke Frazier, and the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestra JoAnn Falletta, as well as interviews with the artists by David M. Rubenstein.
“Music is a universal language and has the unique power of uniting us. I suspect the majority of us will be celebrating this New Year’s with an inability to gather in-person. Ringing in 2021 with music performed by world-class artists, provides an opportunity to celebrate what makes us American,” shared Rubenstein, co-executive producer of United in Song. “When George Washington was leaving office to return to Mount Vernon, he asked that we look to each other and find what we share in common as opposed to what makes us different. That advice appears to be just as relevant today as it was more than 200 years ago. I am sorry that George Washington was not here to greet these extraordinary artists, but I have no doubt that he was listening from above.”
(Updated January 4, 2021)