Obama to join Kennedy Center Honors gala for last time

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WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 08: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors on December 8, 2013 in Washington, DC. The honorees this year include: opera singer Martina Arroyo, jazz musician Herbie Hancock, musician Billy Joel, actress Shirley MacLaine and musician Carlos Santana. (Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar-Pool/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON — The president of the Kennedy Center says this year’s honors gala will be bittersweet for some because it’s the last one under President Barack Obama.

Actor Al Pacino, rock band the Eagles, pianist Martha Argerich, gospel singer Mavis Staples and singer-songwriter James Taylor will receive the Kennedy Center Honors on Sunday. The annual honors go to performers who influence American culture through the arts.

Kennedy Center president Deborah Rutter tells The Associated Press that Obama “has a very personal relationship with quite a number of artists” and that “they just love being around him.”

But she doesn’t think much will change under President-elect Donald Trump. She says the honors have been around for 39 years and every president has given a warm welcome to the honorees.

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