“UNITED IN SONG: CELEBRATING THE RESILIENCE OF AMERICA,”premiered Thursday, December 31, 2020 from 8:00-9:30 p.m. ET and again from 9:30-11:00 p.m. ET on PBS, PBS.org and the PBS Video App. The star-studded performance—filmed at George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts—encouraged our nation to come together and celebrate our irrepressible strength as we welcome the New Year. Despite the enormity of COVID-19 and the significant presence of social injustice, this special evening of wide-ranging music joined us in the ever-present pursuit of uniting as one America.
Filmed at George Washington’s Mount Vernon in front of a small, socially-distanced live audience and under strict COVID-19 mitigation procedures, “UNITED IN SONG: CELEBRATING THE RESILIENCE OF AMERICA” featured performances by: Grammy-nominated mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton; multi-Grammy Award-winning violinist Joshua Bell; world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming; celebrated mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves; multi Grammy- and Tony Award-nominated artist Josh Groban; rising opera star Soloman Howard; recording artist and Broadway star Morgan James; 26-time Grammy and Latin Grammy Award winner Juanes; Grammy Award-winning and world-renowned artist Patti LaBelle; internationally celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma; six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald; two-time Tony Award winner Brian Stokes Mitchell; celebrated actor, playwright and professor Anna Deavere Smith; world-renowned pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet; alongside The American Pops Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Luke Frazier. Performances by the National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestra JoAnn Falletta, were filmed in the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center as part of this special broadcast.
In addition to the above mentioned musical appearances, interviews with artists were conducted onsite at George Washington’s Mount Vernon by David M. Rubenstein, philanthropist and host of “The David Rubenstein Show” on Bloomberg.
“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 Mr. Rubenstein, co-executive producer of “UNITED IN SONG: CELEBRATING THE RESILIENCE OF AMERICA.” He added, “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.”
“UNITED IN SONG: CELEBRATING THE RESILIENCE OF AMERICA” streamed simultaneously with broadcast and was available on all station-branded PBS platforms, including PBS.org and the PBS Video App, available on iOS, Android, Roku streaming devices, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV and Chromecast.
Morgan James - “Beautiful City”
Juanes - “Para Tu Amor”
Brian Stokes Mitchell - "Make Them Hear You"
Audra McDonald - "Climb Ev'ry Mountain"