Singer Linda Ronstadt, funk group Earth, Wind & Fire, and conductor Michael Tilson Thomas will receive Kennedy Center Honors in December for their lifetime achievements in the arts, The New York Times reports. This year’s honorees also include actress Sally Field and Sesame Street, the first television show to be honored and the second work of art after Hamilton last year.
Earth, Wind & Fire’s founder and frontman, Maurice White, passed away in 2016. Band members Philip Bailey, Ralph Johnson, and Verdine White, Maurice’s younger brother, will accept the award. “Almost 50 years since the beginning of Maurice putting together this wonderful idea to render service to humanity, I know that he would be so proud to see this achievement being something that is so worthy of his intent,” Bailey says. “It wasn’t just about entertaining, it wasn’t just about fulfilling our own aspirations as musicians, but it was to render a service.”
Linda Ronstadt has won 10 Grammys, but when her agent called and told her she would be receiving an award at the Kennedy Center Honors, she thought there had been a mistake. “I was a little surprised; I thought I had enough awards,” she told The New York Times in an interview. “I think maybe sometimes they give you an award for getting to be 73.”
The Kennedy Center Honors will be held on 12/8 in Washington, DC. Donald and Melania Trump decided not to attend for the past two years; while three previous presidents had missed the event, 2017 was the first year that both the president and the first lady skipped it. This year’s honors will be broadcast on CBS on 12/15, a week after the ceremony.