2021 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Host LL COOL J helped celebrate the holiday season for the 99th National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, featuring performances by Billy Porter, Juanes, H.E.R., and more.
Enjoy the 2021 National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony program, available to download here.
Watch the 2021 Ceremony
Billy Porter is a Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-winning. Porter began his music career in 1997 with the release of his self-titled (aka Untitled) debut album which spawned the Top 10 “Bubbling Under” single, “Show Me,” and the monster ballad, “Love Is On The Way,” which also appeared at the pivotal moment in the film, “First Wives Club.” He went on to release “At the Corner of Broadway + Soul” (2005), “Billy’s Back on Broadway” (2014), and “The Soul of Richard Rodgers” (2017) featuring Pentatonix, India.Arie, Leslie Odom Jr. and Cynthia Erivo, among others. Porter scored his first #1 with “Love Yourself” in 2019 on the US Dance Club Songs Chart. He followed that up with his 2020 reimagining of the legendary Buffalo Springfield anthem, “For What It’s Worth,” and a fierce collab with The Shapeshifters on “Finally Ready.” 2021 saw Porter covering Juliet Roberts club classic “Caught in The Middle” for Red Hot + Free, which supports underserved communities afflicted with HIV/AIDS. He was also enlisted by multiplatinum international superstar Jessie J for “I Want Love.” And he delivered a magical turn on Earth, Wind, and Fire’s iconic “Shining Star” as Fab G, the Fairy Godmuva, in the new remake of “Cinderella.” Porter is a veteran of the theater (Miss Saigon, Angels in America, Grease). He won a Tony® in the category of “Best Leading Actor in a Musical” for Kinky Boots in 2013, and a GRAMMY® for the latter’s Official Soundtrack in the category of “Best Musical Theater Album” in 2014. Porter took home the EMMY® Award for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” in 2019 for his work as Pray Tell on “Pose,” making history in being the first openly gay man to do so. Time Magazine named him one of the “100 Most Influential People” of 2020. This October, Billy will release his highly anticipated memoir, “Unprotected.” His directorial film debut, “What If,” is set to drop in 2022. Billy kicks off his next chapter in music, his first love, with a new album coming soon.
Kentucky-born Stapleton is a 5x Grammy, 10x CMA and 9x ACM Award-winner and one of the country’s most respected and beloved musicians. This past fall, Stapleton released his critically acclaimed new album, Starting Over—a record that examines life’s simplest joys and most serious struggles. Released to widespread acclaim, it won Album of the Year at the 56th ACM Awards and landed on several “Best of 2020” lists including NPR Music, Rolling Stone, Billboard, Esquire, Vulture, The Tennessean and The New York Times, who praises, “lands precisely where country meets Southern soul: with grit, details, clarity and ache.” The new album follows Stapleton’s quintuple platinum breakthrough solo debut, Traveller, as well as his two #1 albums from 2017: From A Room: Volume 1 (certified platinum) and From A Room: Volume 2 (certified gold).
H.E.R. kicked off 2021 in the most stellar of ways by winning two Grammy Awards – Song of the Year for “I Can’t Breathe” and Best R&B Song for her contribution to Robert Glasper’s “Better Than I Imagined,” plus an Academy Award for her powerful song “Fight For You” from the Warner Bros. Pictures’ film Judas and the Black Messiah. In 2019, she won two Grammy Awards for Best R&B Album (H.E.R.) and Best R&B Performance (“Best Part” featuring Daniel Caesar) and a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Female Artist, among additional awards and honors. To date, H.E.R. has accrued nearly 8 billion combined audio and video streams worldwide – and counting – of the breakthrough projects H.E.R. (RIAA-certified Platinum), I Used To Know Her, and her recently released full-length album, Back of My Mind, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top R&B Albums chart and is now RIAA-certified Gold.
Howard University Gospel Choir
Howard University Gospel Choir
Founded in the fall of 1968, the Howard Gospel Choir (HGC) of Howard University is the first collegiate choir of its kind in the world. As a result, HGC has pioneered an international legacy in gospel music ministry. With an active roster of fifty-plus persons that consists of students and alumni from Howard University, as well as others from the surrounding community, the choir is one of the largest religious life organizations on campus, operating under the historic Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel. For over five decades, the Howard Gospel Choir has set a very high standard as a premier performing arts ensemble and has worked with a number of musical luminaries including Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, Chaka Khan, Mary J. Blige and Fantasia. The group has also been blessed to receive both national exposure, having appeared from coast to coast within the continental United States, and international exposure, having served as cultural ambassadors to more than twenty countries throughout Europe and the Americas. The choir is currently under the musical direction of Reginald Golden, a Howard University double graduate from University Heights, OH. Darrell Brown, also a Howard University alumnus, is the assistant director.
Born and raised in Medellín, Colombia, Juanes is unquestionably Latin Rock’s leading global ambassador and champion for social change. Hailed by TIME as “one of the 100 Most-Influential People in the World,” and The New York Times as “Latin America’s hottest singer-songwriter… a soulful poet with electric guitar,” Juanes is the only artist holding two of Billboard’s ”Top-5 Latin Pop Songs of All-Time,” has 12 #1 U.S. singles to his credit, dozens of groundbreaking Spanish language television appearances including The Grammy broadcast, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Tonight Show, and more, and has collected a staggering 25 combined GRAMMY & Latin Grammy Awards. Juanes has sold millions of records around the world and was honored as the “2019 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year” recognizing his “creative artistry, unprecedented humanitarian efforts, support for rising artists, and philanthropic contributions to the world.” On his tenth & most recent album Origen, and its matching standout documentary film, Juanes passionately returns to his earliest guitar-driven rock roots in order to share a scintillating collection that reimagines some of the most important songs and artists that shaped his own early musical vision. Upon its release, Origen was quickly declared as “one of the best Latin albums of the year” by Billboard, and strongly praised by Rolling Stone as “a masterpiece.” Juanes embarked on an extensive first U.S. leg of his “Origen Tour” this fall – which the Los Angeles Times heralded as “a fantastic return to stage. The Juanes of 2021 is more than a star, he is a whole constellation.” Most recently, Origen garnered Juanes three additional Latin Grammy nominations (including Album of the Year) – extending his’ status as the most nominated solo artist in Latin Grammy history with 45 total nominations. Beyond the Origen album, Juanes has further explored new takes on additional influential songs recently, with his own interpretations of “Enter Sandman” and “Pump it Up” both chosen as the Lead Single releases respectively for Metallica’s landmark “The Blacklist” collection, and Elvis Costello’s “Spanish Model” – also resulting in Juanes & Costello performing together in concert in Los Angeles and on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
With five GRAMMYs, 14 Blues Foundation Awards, and a groundbreaking career spanning nearly 50 years under his belt, Keb’ Mo’ stands as one of the most accomplished and respected artists working in contemporary roots music today. Born and raised in Compton, California, Keb’ got his start working behind the scenes as a guitarist, songwriter, and arranger before breaking out internationally with the release of his 1994 self-titled debut, which earned widespread acclaim for its genre-bending take on old school sounds. In the decades that followed, Keb’ would go on to top the Billboard Blues Chart seven times; perform everywhere from Carnegie Hall to The White House; collaborate with luminaries like Taj Mahal, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, The Chicks, and Lyle Lovett; have his compositions recorded and sampled by artists as diverse as B.B. King, Zac Brown, and BTS; release signature guitars with both Gibson and Martin; compose music for television series like Mike and Molly, Memphis Beat, B Positive, and Martha Stewart Living; appear as himself in Martin Scorcese’s The Blues, Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing, and the iconic children’s series Sesame Street; and earn the Americana Music Association’s 2021 award for Lifetime Achievement in Performance. Keb’s newest album, Good To Be, weaves together the sounds of his childhood in Compton with the influences of his adopted hometown of Nashville, drawing on country, soul, and blues to craft a heartwarming tapestry that transcends genre and geography as it celebrates the power of love and resilience, growth and gratitude, hope, and memory.
TONY® and EMMY® Award-winning actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth’s career spans film, television, voiceover and stage. Stage, (“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”, “Wicked”, “On the Twentieth Century”), film (“Rio 2”, “My Little Pony: The Movie”, “Four Christmases”) and television (“Trial & Error”, “The West Wing”, “Pushing Daisies”, “Glee”, “Descendants”, “Hairspray” and “American Gods”). Chenoweth just released her latest Holiday/Christmas album “HAPPINESS is…Christmas!.” Previously in 2019, she released “For The Girls,” a heartfelt tribute to the great female singers throughout history. To celebrate the release of her new album “For The Girls,” Chenoweth returned to the Broadway stage in November 2019 for an eight-performance concert engagement at the Nederlander Theatre. She will next be seen starring in the STXfilms sports drama “National Champions.” Chenoweth most recently co-starred in Apple TV+’s acclaimed musical-comedy series “Schmigadoon!.” In 2020, Chenoweth starred in the Netflix film “Holidate,” voiced the character Daisy in the HBO Max film “The Witches,” and hosted the Food Network competition series “Candy Land.” In 2019, Chenoweth starred alongside Scott Wolf in the holiday film “A Christmas Love Story,” which premiered on Hallmark Channel. Along with the holiday season, Chenoweth released a stand-alone Holiday e-single titled “White Christmas.” Also in 2019, Chenoweth performed with iconic The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra in their annual Christmas concert. In 2009, Chenoweth wrote an upliftingly candid, comedic chronicle of her life so far, “A Little Bit Wicked,” which debuted on the New York Times Hardcover Non-Fiction Best Seller List. Chenoweth received a coveted star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Live Performance, Stage/Theatre in 2015. Chenoweth is a graduate of Oklahoma City University with a Master’s degree in Opera Performance. She formed a charity partnership with the Broken Arrow Performing Arts Center (BAPAC) Foundation in her home state of Oklahoma. Chenoweth’s accomplishments were honored by her hometown with BAPAC naming “The Kristin Chenoweth Theatre” in 2012. Partnering with the BAPAC, she launched an annual Broadway Bootcamp in 2015. Chenoweth is an inductee into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, as well as the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
LL COOL J
LL COOL J
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, two-time Grammy® Award-winning Hip-Hop icon, Kennedy Center Honoree, recording artist, actor, author, NAACP Image Award winner, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and founder and CEO of Rock The Bells, LL COOL J has created one of the most multifaceted careers and brands in entertainment and continues to display his wide range of talents with every project. Three decades after he first burst onto the scene, LL COOL J continues his vibrant, trailblazing career. LL COOL J began in the nascent, burgeoning rap and Hip-Hop scene of the 80’s, which developed into the musical and cultural phenomenon that is today’s Hip-Hop. All the while, LL COOL J has remained a musical and cultural force, a living icon and a significant, relevant artist. In March 2018, LL launched his own SiriusXM classic Hip-Hop channel entitled “LL COOL J’s Rock The Bells Radio.” The channel features a wide range of classic Hip-Hop content, music, interviews and in-depth retrospectives curated, programmed, and presented by the award-winning artist. Since founding the radio station, Rock The Bells has developed into a full-fledged company that has become the preeminent voice for classic and timeless Hip-Hop. Rock The Bells focuses on content, commerce, and experiences that honor the culture and the core elements of Hip-Hop. Driven by the past, inspired by the now, and energized by the future, Rock The Bells is the bridge between OGs and those inspired by their groundbreaking influences on the culture.
Maren Morris is one of the leading voices in music today, armed with incredible vocal stylings and songwriting chops, sheer talent, honest lyrics, and an undeniable presence. Her triple Platinum single “The Bones” dominated 2020, topping the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for 19 consecutive weeks and became the first solo female multi-week #1 at country radio since 2012. The single earned Maren Song of the Year and Female Artist of the Year at the 2021 ACM Awards, Female Vocalist of the Year, Single of the Year and Song of the Year at the 2020 CMA Awards, plus Female Artist of the year and Music Event of the Year at the 2020 ACM Awards and a 2021 Grammy nomination for Best Country Song. Maren and her husband Ryan Hurd are nominated for two 2021 CMA Awards for their first official duet “Chasing After You,” which is certified Platinum and currently in the top 10 and climbing at country radio. Her 2019 album GIRL shattered the record for the largest ever debut streaming week for a country album by a woman and was named Album of the Year at the 2019 CMA Awards, where Morris was the most nominated artist. GIRL arrived three years after Morris’ breakout, Gold-certified debut album HERO, for which she won a Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance, New Female Vocalist of the Year at the 2017 ACM Awards and New Artist of the Year at the 2016 CMA Awards. HERO features the much-lauded singles that launched Maren’s career into the stratosphere— the double Platinum “My Church,” Platinum “80s Mercedes,” and “I Could Use A Love Song,” and Gold “Rich.”
Beautiful simply does not describe the incomparable force known to the world as Patti LaBelle. Through the years, the songbird’s name has become synonymous with grace, style, and class. Her effortless ability to belt out classic rhythm and blues renditions, pop standards and spiritual sonnets has created the unique platform of versatility that the artist is known and revered for. For almost 60 years, Patti’s strong and soulful voice has left an indelible mark all over the world. This Philadelphia-born entertainer captured her first hit in 1962, as lead singer of The BlueBelles and went on to receive worldwide acclaim with the trailblazing and genre bending trio, Labelle. A solo artist since the 1970s, Patti has created timeless songs that have helped cement her place as a music icon and garnered her numerous honors, including GRAMMY Awards, American Music Awards, NAACP Image Awards, New York Times bestselling books, and more. From music, to film and TV, to books, to her successful food and lifestyle brand, Patti’s Good Life, living legend Patti LaBelle has shown her diversity and continued to break down barriers as an artist, entertainer, actress, author, and entrepreneur.
U.S. Army Band Downrange
U.S. Army Band Downrange
Downrange supports the men and women of the Armed Services through popular music while reaching all audiences, young and old, with their continuously up-to-date repertoire of rock, pop, country, R & B, and inspirational signature patriotic arrangements that are popular with all listeners