This year's Kennedy Center Honors gala will be bittersweet for some because it's the last one under President Barack Obama, but the festivities aren't likely to be much different next year under President-elect Donald Trump, the Kennedy Center president said.
Actor Al Pacino, rock band the Eagles, pianist Martha Argerich, gospel singer Mavis Staples and singer-songwriter James Taylor will receive the honors on Sunday (Dec. 4). The annual awards go to performers who influence American culture through the arts.
Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter told The Associated Press that Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who handed out medals to the performers on Saturday night, have enthusiastically welcomed the honorees every year, and the honorees have been eager to spend time with them. Kerry in particular went out of his way this year, flying from Rome to Washington on Saturday attend the honors dinner before a scheduled trip to Berlin on Sunday.