[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[June 3, 1998]
[Page 880]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks at WETA's ``In Performance at the White House''
June 3, 1998

    First, welcome to the White House and to another year of celebrating 
the beauty, the power, the diversity of American music. All our music is 
an important part of our national heritage. We must and we're going to 
do more to celebrate it as we move forward toward the millennium.
    We've had in this White House, since I've been privileged to be 
here, jazz music and classical music, country music and rock music, 
rhythm and blues. We've had just about everything you can imagine. But 
tonight we celebrate music that is truly an American gift. Wedded to the 
powerful message of faith and conviction, gospel lifts our hearts and 
minds and soothes our souls, calms our spirits.
    Gospel grew out of the musical traditions of Africa. Its roots were 
nourished by the blood, the sweat, the tears of millions of people who 
were held captive in slavery. Throughout this century, particularly 
during the civil rights era, the amazing grace of gospel music has been 
a sustaining force for countless Americans. It's a voice of hardship and 
hope, of pain and triumph.
    And as we'll see tonight, gospel music's appeal now embraces 
Americans of very many different backgrounds and religious affiliations. 
Tonight we have with us people with great voices and great hearts: the 
Morgan State University Choir; Phil Driscoll; 
Mickey Mangun and the Messiah Singers from 
Louisiana; and our terrific mistress of ceremonies, CeCe Winans.
    CeCe has an extraordinary ability to blend 
the wide range of popular styles into traditional gospels. She and her 
brother BeBe did a wonderful job at my Inaugural 
church service. She's had a terrific career. She's got a great gift. And 
I am honored to welcome her here tonight to begin this wonderful 
    CeCe, come on out.

Note: The President spoke at 8:50 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White 
House. In his remarks, he referred to musicians Phil Driscoll and Mickey 
Mangun. The performance was videotaped for later broadcast on PBS