Photo by Shawn Miller.
Celebrated performer Tony Bennett salutes the crowd on November 15 after Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and a delegation of Members of Congress presented him with the 2017 Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Members who joined Bennett on stage were Rep. Kevin Yoder, U.S. House of Representatives Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch; Rep. Gregg Harper, U.S. House of Representatives Chairman of the Committee on House Administration and Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress; Rep. Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Leader; Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, U.S. Senate Member of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress; and Rep. Kevin McCarthy, U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader.
Earlier, during an evening concert in DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., some of the nation’s top artists paid homage to Bennett’s extraordinary gift as an interpreter of America’s songbook, showcasing some of his most memorable songs. Performing were Chris Botti, Michael Bublé, Gloria Estefan, Michael Feinstein, Savion Glover, Josh Groban, Wé McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Lukas Nelson, Vanessa Williams and Stevie Wonder—a former recipient of the Gershwin Prize—with a special presentation by Wynton Marsalis. Actor Bruce Willis hosted the evening’s festivities, concluded by a performance by Bennett of some of his favorite tunes.
The concert will air on PBS stations nationwide at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, January 12. The program will also be broadcast at a later date on the American Forces Network to the U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.
Bestowed in honor of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, the Gershwin Prize recognizes a living musical artist’s lifetime achievement in promoting the genre of song as a vehicle of cultural understanding, entertaining and informing audiences and inspiring new generations. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson and Smokey Robinson.