Press Release
Memphis Soul at the White House on WKNO-TV

For more information: Teri L Sullivan
WKNO Promotions Manager

April 3, 2013
For Immediate Release

— Latest From Emmy Award-Nominated “In Performance at the White House” Series
Also Features Sam Moore, Alabama Shakes, Mavis Staplesand Others,
Airing April 16 on WKNO-TV-

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul is a PBS music special taped in the East Room of the White House, celebrating the timeless classics of Memphis Soul.  President and Mrs. Obama will host the event on Tuesday, April 9.  The all-star concert will include performances by Alabama Shakes, William Bell, Steve Cropper, Ben Harper, Queen Latifah, Cyndi Lauper, Joshua Ledet, Sam Moore, Charlie Musselwhite, Mavis Staples and Justin Timberlake, with Booker T. Jones as music director and band leader. (Program subject to change.)  The sixty-minute television special is produced by WETA Washington, D.C., the flagship public broadcaster in the nation’s capital, in association with AEG Ehrlich Ventures, The GRAMMY Museum® and the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC).  The program is part of the Emmy Award-nominated PBS “In Performance at the White House” series and will premiere Tuesday, April 16 at 7:00 p.m. on WKNO-TV/Channel 10.

In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul will honor the memorable soul sounds from the mid- to late-1960s that came from Memphis, Tennessee and legendary labels like Stax-Volt Records, that featured artists such as Al Green, Mavis Staples, Carla Thomas, Otis Redding and many more. The evening pays homage to Memphis, a segregated city in the 1960s where many whites and blacks nonetheless came together to make soulful music, a mix of gospel and potent rhythmic grooves — known today as “Memphis Soul.”

This event, including the President’s remarks, will be available for press via the White House Press Corps pool feed and streamed live on, and  The program will also be broadcast at a later date via the American Forces Network to American service men and women and civilians at U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world.

“It is our ongoing delight to bring this concert series to the American people in collaboration with the White House,” noted Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president and CEO of WETA.  “This event marks the fiftieth production of the WETA ‘In Performance at the White House’ series. Through this series we continue to demonstrate how public broadcasting is focused on preserving our most treasured values, which are history and culture.”

“Memphis Soul music spans generations of Americans who find the gospel-rooted vocals and infectious melodies as memorable today as when they were first heard in the 1960s,” said Paula A. Kerger, president and CEO of PBS.  “This is an important part of our cultural history that we are proud to highlight as part of ‘In Performance at the White House.’”

“The musical form of Memphis Soul had the power to bring together races in the segregated American South of the 1960s, and it is a testament to those songs that we celebrate them now at the White House,” commented Jacquie Jones, executive director of the National Black Programming Consortium (NPBC), who herself grew up in Memphis.  “We are honored to bring this Memphis Soul music to the American public through public broadcasting.”

“We are pleased to support ‘In Performance at the White House’and celebrate the cultural influence of Memphis Soul on the American music landscape,” said Patricia Harrison, president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  “Through public media that informs, educates, inspires, and entertains, we are delighted to bring this unique part of our country’s heritage to the local communities we serve.”

In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul

About WKNO
WKNO is a non-profit, private foundation serving the Mid-South for more than 56 years. An important community resource, WKNO uses the power of non-commercial public broadcasting to provide the Mid-South with quality educational and cultural programs that inform, entertain, and inspire. For more information:

Educational Program with the White House
In addition to the evening concert, the afternoon of the concert taping the White House will host “Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul,” an educational workshop for middle and high school students from across the country, held in the State Dining Room.  The event will be produced by The GRAMMY Museum® and led by Robert Santelli, executive director of The GRAMMY Museum® in Los Angeles. Santelli is a leading musicologist and music educator who will give the participating students an overview of the origins of Memphis Soul, discuss important artists from throughout its history, and explore the elements of soul that helped contribute to the genre’s unique sound.  Santelli will be joined by special musical guests who will share their experiences as well as answer students’ questions.   The White House “Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul” workshop will be streamed live on

“Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul” will be accompanied by a broader educational program, also developed by The GRAMMY Museum®, consisting of visits to Greater Washington-area institutions and a special student press conference where student journalists will be able to question production staff for articles in their school’s newspapers.  In addition, The GRAMMY Museum® will offer downloadable curriculum and educational materials for middle and high school teachers, available at, and  This is the fifth educational workshop at the White House that The GRAMMY Museum® has organized, in cooperation with the “In Performance at the White House” concert series.

“In Performance at the White House” Series
“In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” will be the tenth “In Performance at the White House” program during President Barack Obama’s administration.  From February 2009 to the most recent broadcast in May 2012, these latest “In Performance at the White House” events have honored the musical genius of Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David; celebrated Hispanic musical heritage during Hispanic Heritage Month; marked Black History Month with events featuring music from the Civil Rights Movement, Motown and the Blues; explored the rich roots and resiliency of Country music; and spotlighted Broadway and the unique spirit of the American musical.  The star-studded line-ups have included Marc Anthony, Tony Bennett, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Jamie Foxx, José Feliciano, Dave Grohl, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock, Faith Hill, Jennifer Hudson, Mick Jagger, Jonas Brothers, B.B. King, Alison Krauss, Nathan Lane, John Legend, Eva Longoria, Lyle Lovett, Audra McDonald, Idina Menzel, Mike Myers, Smokey Robinson, Darius Rucker, Seal, Jerry Seinfeld, Esperanza Spalding, Elaine Stritch, James Taylor and Jack White.

“In Performance at the White House” has been produced by WETA since 1978 and spans every administration since President Carter’s.  The series began with an East Room recital by the legendary pianist Vladimir Horowitz.  Since then, “In Performance at the White House” has embraced virtually every genre of American performance: pop, country, gospel, jazz, theatre and dance among them.  The series was created to showcase the rich fabric of American culture in the setting of the nation’s most famous home.  Past programs have showcased such talent as cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, dancer/choreographer Mikhail Baryshnikov, popular music singers Linda Ronstadt and Alison Krauss, the United States Marine Band, soul and jazz singers Natalie Cole and Aretha Franklin, leading Broadway performers, and the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

“In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” Production
“In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” is a production of WETA Washington, D.C., in association with AEG Ehrlich Ventures, The GRAMMY Museum® and the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC).  The executive producers are Dalton Delan and David S. Thompson for WETA; and Ken Ehrlich, executive producer of The GRAMMY Awards®, and Robert Santelli, executive director of The GRAMMY Museum®, for AEG Ehrlich Ventures.  The producer is Renato Basile.  The music director is Booker T. Jones.  The “In Performance at the White House” series was created by WETA Washington, D.C.  The series producer is Jackson Frost.  Corporate funding for the program is provided by Pepsi-Cola.  Foundation support is provided by The Annenberg Foundation and the Anne Ray Charitable Trust.  Major funding is also provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, PBS and public television viewers.

For more information about “In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul” visit  An electronic press kit, including downloadable talent photos for promotional use, is available at  To follow “In Performance at the White House” on Twitter, use hashtag #PBSipwh.

WETA Washington, D.C., is the third-largest producing station for public television.  Other WETA productions and co-productions include “PBS NewsHour,” “Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and National Journal,” “The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize” and documentaries by filmmaker Ken Burns, including the premiere this April of “The Central Park Five.”  More information on WETA and its programs and services is available at

The GRAMMY Museum® pays tribute to music’s rich cultural history.  This one-of-a-kind, 21st-century Museum explores and celebrates the enduring legacies of all forms of music, the creative process, the art and technology of the recording process, and the history of the premier recognition of excellence in recorded music — the GRAMMY Award. The GRAMMY Museum® features 30,000 square feet of interactive and multimedia exhibits located within L.A. LIVE, the downtown Los Angeles sports, entertainment and residential district. Through thought-provoking and dynamic public and educational programs and exhibits, guests will experience music from a never-before-seen insider perspective that only The GRAMMY Museum® can deliver.  More information is available at

AEG Ehrlich Ventures is led by Ken Ehrlich, and is a division of AEG, one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world.  For more than 25 years, no individual has produced more music related and non-traditional programming for television, as well as single and multi-artist and concept specials for network, cable, syndication and home video programming than Ken Ehrlich. With hundreds of hours of highly acclaimed specials to his credit, from the annual GRAMMY Awards®, which he has produced since 1980, to a yearly slate of award shows including his fifth and most recent Emmy Awards show in 2008, Ehrlich’s credits are unmatched.  Ken began his career with public broadcaster WTTW in Chicago, creating and producing the seminal music series “Soundstage.”  More recently for public broadcasting, he co-produced “In Performance at the White House: A Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” in 2010, which had the White House debut of Bob Dylan.  More information is available at

PBS, with its 356 member stations, offers all Americans — from every walk of life — the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content.  Each month, PBS reaches more than 124 million people on-air and online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; hear diverse viewpoints; and take front row seats to world-class drama and performances.  PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions.  Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life.  PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and Web site,, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children.  More information about PBS is available at, one of the leading dot-org Web sites on the Internet.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is the steward of the federal government's investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operations of more than 1,300 locally-owned and -operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest single source of funding for research, technology, and program development for public radio, television and related online services.  More information about CPB is available at

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