Photo: Kennedy Center Honors
The Kennedy Center announced the list of five “extraordinary” entertainers that will be honored at the 36th annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington D.C. The annual awards recognizes a lifetime contribution to American culture either in dance, music, theater, television or film.
The list includes two Latino performers, opera singer Martina Arroyo and musician/songwriter Carlos Santana. The list rounds out with actress Shirley MacLaine, singer Billy Joel, and pianist Herbie Hancock.
The Kennedy Center has honored only two other Latinos in its 35-year history: Placido Domingo (2000) and Chita Rivera (2002). Last year several Hispanic groups publicly decried the lack of Hispanics on the prestigious list of honorees year-after-year.
The Kennedy Center announcement described Arroyo, 76, as possessing a “glorious soprano voice” which has taken the Puerto Rican star to incredible heights. She is famous for her unique interpretations of Verdi, Puccini, Strauss, and Mozart. Arroyo had three opening night performances at the Met Opera, two of them in consecutive seasons. Santana, 66, described as the “legendary performer from Woodstock” has won 10 Grammys and sold more than 100 million records.
Upon hearing the news the Tijuana-born Santana said “It’s better than Fourth of July, Christmas, Thanksgiving and Valentine’s.”
The annual ceremony is scheduled for December 8 and will be broadcast at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on CBS, Sunday, December 29, from 9-11 PM.