The Kennedy Center


New Year's Eve at the Kennedy Center: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin

Tuesday, December 31, 2019 8:30 PM

Ring in 2020 with a tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin! Luke Frazier leads The American Pops Orchestra and an all-star lineup featuring Michelle Williams, Dionne Warwick, Bria Skonberg, Morgan James, Nova Payton, MILCK, and Rayshun LaMarr. After the concert join us for the Grand Foyer party to dance the night away as we countdown to midnight.

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Ring in the New Year at the Kennedy Center with a tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin! Featuring performances by Grammy® winners Michelle Williams and Dionne Warwick, trumpeter and singer Bria Skonberg, Broadway's Morgan James, Rayshun LaMarr from The Voice, and D.C. favorite Nova Payton

New Year’s Eve Grand Foyer Party
After the show on Tuesday, December 31, your performance ticket grants you admission to the Grand Foyer for a night packed with festive dancing to two great bands, champagne bars, photo booth, a countdown to midnight, a big balloon drop, and more!

Michelle Williams
Michelle Williams, is a Grammy Award®–winning singer/songwriter, actress, entrepreneur, designer, television host, and member of one of the most successful recording groups of all time, Destiny’s Child. In 2018, Williams reunited with Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Kelly Rowland for a long-awaited Destiny’s Child reunion performance during both weekends of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. She has recorded four critically-acclaimed albums as a solo artist-Heart to Yours in 2002, Do You Know in 2004, Unexpected in 2008, and Journey to Freedom in 2014, whose song “Say Yes” has been streamed over 100 million times.

Dionne Warwick
Scintillating, soothing, and sensual best describe Dionne Warwick’s familiar and legendary voice which has become a cornerstone of American pop music and the voice of a generation. Celebrating more than 50 years in music, Warwick has achieved the accolades of an international music icon and concert act, earning over 75 charted hit songs and sales of more than 100 million records worldwide.

Morgan James
The right vocalist can make you fall in love at first listen, elicit tears, or bring you back to a different era altogether. That holds true for New York-based soul singer & songwriter, Morgan James. Her most recent studio album, "Reckless Abandon,” is her first as an independent artist, and it is her most personal outing yet, prompting the Huffington Post to call MJ the "Brightest Breakout Artist of the Year".

Nova Payton
Chances are that you’ve heard the amazing soprano voice of Nova Y. Payton with the internationally staged musical, 3 Mo’ Divas, on television, or in countless regional theatre productions across the country. Boasting a prolific catalog of artist collaborations, the former American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) student has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Roberta Flack, Levi Kreis, Bobby McFerrin, John Michael Higgins, Yolanda Adams, Betsy Wolfe, Michael Uris, Anthony Hamilton and Michelle Williams. She has also opened for heavyweights like Ashford and Simpson, Will Downing, Stephanie Mills, Melba Moore, The Chi-Lite,s and the Dramatics.

The American Pops Orchestra (APO) is dedicated to the vast, rich repertoire of American music and to creating fresh, entertaining programming. Since 2015, APO has reinvigorated the orchestral world, performing at world-class venues such as Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, the Anthem, and many more. APO’s fifth season is bringing critically acclaimed musicianship that will dazzle its audience of first-time orchestra attendees and long-time music lovers alike.

Aside from APO’s musical excellence, the organization provides free, monthly community concerts and offer tickets to military veterans, at-risk youth, underserved families, and many others. Additionally, APO is assembling its annual “NextGen: Finding the Voices of Tomorrow,” a vocal competition for college-aged students, which awards cash and professional opportunities to up-and-coming talent. APO has shared the stage with incredible artists, including Christine Ebersole, Luis Fonsi, Tommy Tune, Michelle Williams, Betty Who, Fran Drescher, Norm Lewis, Laura Osnes, Olympian Greg Louganis, and many more.

Luke Frazier is a musical conductor, pianist, and a visionary for presenting music we know and love with a fresh twist. Washingtonian magazine named him one of their “Top 40 Under 40,” and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, Marvin Hamlisch, called Frazier “so talented, and sensitive to every nuance.”

As founder and Music Director of The American Pops Orchestra, Frazier has brought Broadway and television stars to the stage alongside APO to dazzle a new-found audience of first-time attendees and long-time patrons alike. He has conducted at prominent venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, The Arsht Center, Kravis Center, The Kennedy Center, and many more. He is an avid proponent of the celebration of the American Songbook and sits on the board of NY Festival of Song as well as the Cultural Diplomacy Council of Meridian Center.

Bria Skonberg
To most of us, the adventures of trailblazing triple threat trumpeter, singer, and songwriter Bria Skonberg are borderline unbelievable. Described as “one of the most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation” (Wall Street Journal), she has played with U2 at the Apollo, sat in with the Dave Matthews band, was a featured guest with Jon Batiste and sang the “Star Spangled Banner” at Madison Square Garden for a NY Rangers game. The Juno Award winner for Best Vocal Jazz Album has performed hundreds of festivals and stages the world over, including the New Orleans, Monterey, Newport and Montreal Jazz Festivals. Called the “shining hope of hot jazz” by the NY Times, Bria has been at the forefront of a revival of classic American music as both a performer and educator, including co-directing the New York Hot Jazz Camp she co-founded in 2015. Bria has been featured on over 25 recordings and recently released her sixth studio solo album “Nothing Never Happens” to wide acclaim; Her music has garnered over 9 million streams online. A 6x Downbeat Rising Star, she tours constantly bringing her own signature sounds of fiery trumpet playing, smoky vocals, and story-telling together with adventurous concoctions of classic and new.

Rayshun LaMarr
Rayshun LaMarr was born and raised in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He discovered his gift of singing at the young age of seven. It was later on that Rayshun moved to Washington, D.C. and attended The Duke Ellington School of the Arts as a Vocal Performance major. To further his studies, he
enrolled in Philadelphia’s University of the Arts (UARTS), as a Vocal Jazz major with a minor in Classical Music. Rayshun’s exceptional training coupled with his natural gift of music is stellar.

Rayshun’s new success recently came from the Emmy Award winning Tv show NBC The Voice. In the blind audition of The Voice Season 14, Rayshun LaMarr impressed all the judges with his incredible vocal range when he performed Don’t Stop Believing by Journey. LaMarr was amongst the strongest contenders on The Voice and succeeded in making it to the SemiFinals. Rayshun delivers a smooth and mature sound influenced by Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, Ella Fitzgerald, Otis Redding and John Legend. Rayshun would like to thank GOD, his family and friends, and most of all the people who support him and his ambitions.