The Kennedy Center has announced the names of the 2019 honorees who will be recognized for their lifetime contributions to the arts.
The organization behind the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts announced on Thursday that Earth, Wind & Fire, singer Linda Ronstadt, and San Francisco Symphony Director Michael Tilson Thomas will all be honored with the prestigious recognition presented in the annual gala performance at the Kennedy Center on Sunday, Dec. 8th. The three are joined in the 42nd annual class of honorees by actress Sally Field and the long-running educational children’s show, Sesame Street.
“The Kennedy Center Honors celebrates icons who, through their artistry, have left an indelible stamp on our collective cultural consciousness,” Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a statement in praise to this year’s honorees.
Earth, Wind & Fire broke onto the scene in the early 1970s and used their foundation of R&B and rock to climb the ladder of success with the era’s evolution of dance and disco with hits like “September” and “Boogie Wonderland”. Ronstadt also rose to fame beginning in the 1970s and would go on to be recognized as one of America’s popular singers across various styles and genres within the pop realm. Ronstadt retired from performing in 2011, and revealed the was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2012.
Recipients in recent years include Cher, Philip Glass, Reba McEntire, Wayne Shorter, and the creators of Hamilton: An American Musical in 2018, with The Eagles, Mavis Staples, and James Taylor being recognized in 2016.
The taped gala will air with its own primetime CBS special on Sunday, Dec. 15th, at 8 p.m. ET.