Eight airs weekend-long programming honoring veterans, including annual National Memorial Day Concert

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PHOENIX — (May 5, 2015) Eight, Arizona PBS celebrates the immense service and sacrifice of America’s men and women in uniform and their loved ones with a lineup of new and returning programs, including the 26th anniversary broadcast of the “National Memorial Day Concert,” beginning May 22 at 8 p.m.

Over Memorial Day weekend, Eight will present a lineup of programs commemorating the courage and service of veterans as part of the PBS multi-platform initiative Stories of Service, which unites powerful stories and conversations around one of America’s most resilient communities: our military veterans.

The weekend kicks off May 22 at 8 p.m. with the first-ever musical special “The Lincoln Awards: A Concert for Veterans & the Military Family” to recognize outstanding achievement and excellence in providing opportunities and support to veterans and military families. The concert will feature performances by renowned artists, including Aloe Blacc, the American Military Spouses Choir, Arturo Sandoval, Nick Jonas, Gavin DeGraw, Gregory Porter, Harvey Keitel and more.

Eight will also air “Salute to the Troops: In Performance at the White House” May 22 at 9 p.m., featuring an all-star tribute to the men and women who serve the United States. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host the musical spectacular. The event will include performances by Mary J. Blige, Common, John Fogerty, Willie Nelson, Romeo Santos, and active duty military members U.S. Army Sgt. Christiana R. Ball, U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Matt Smith and Capt. John Ed Auer. There also will be a performance by Daughtry via satellite of their USO concert at Yokota Air Base in Japan, as well as a live-viewing audience of troops from the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir in Virginia.

On the eve of Memorial Day, Eight will broadcast the 26th annual “National Memorial Day Concert,” airing May 24 at 7 p.m. and again at 8:30 p.m. Tony Award-winning Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) and Emmy Award-winning Gary Sinise (CSI: New York), two acclaimed actors who have dedicated themselves to veterans’ causes and supporting troops in active service, will co-host the multi-award-winning program for the 10th year. A star-studded lineup of performers will grace the stage on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol before a live audience of hundreds of thousands, as well as millions of TV viewers nationwide and U.S. troops serving around the world watching via the American Forces Network.

The program will include appearances by former Secretary of State and retired Army Gen. Colin L. Powell; Gary Sinise, who portrayed Lt. Dan Taylor in the film Forrest Gump and founded the “Lt. Dan Band” that performs nearly 50 concerts a year for military bases.

The show will feature talent by six military ensembles, including the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the U.S. Army Chorus, the Soldiers’ Chorus of the United States Army Field Band, the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants and Service Honor Guards provided by the Military District of Washington, D.C. The all-star lineup also includes seven-time Grammy Award-winner and international superstar Gloria Estefan; acclaimed film and television actress Stefanie Scott (“Insidious: Chapter 3”; “Jem and the Holograms”); “The Voice” season five winner Tessanne Chin; the world’s most prolific classical cross-over artist Katherine Jenkins; and world-renowned tenor Russell Watson in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly.The 2015 event will feature the following segments:


  • There are over 4 million living disabled American veterans, a visible reminder of the toll of America’s wars through the decades. A new national memorial in Washington, DC to pay tribute to these courageous American heroes disabled for life was dedicated in October 2014. The concert will feature the poignant stories of two veterans from different eras severely injured in war and living with life-altering disabilities.
  • Through the eyes of Gold Star Children, those who have lost a parent to war, we learn how their lives are changed forever.
  • As the world commemorates the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, the deadliest war in human history, we honor the sacrifices of America’s Greatest Generation, and remember the estimated 60 million men, women and children worldwide whose lives were brutally ended in the war.

The broadcast will be supported by a resource-rich website at pbs.org/memorialdayconcert. Highlights include a “Virtual Wall of Remembrance,” where viewers can share tributes to our veterans and fallen heroes; suggestions for what viewers can do to support veterans and their loved ones; and resources for service members and their families.  The program is a co-production of Jerry Colbert of Capital Concerts and WETA, Washington, D.C. Eight will conclude the weekend of veterans programming with two specials airing Memorial Day, May 25. “Homefront,” premiering at 8 p.m. on Eight, will share intimate portraits of America’s military families, with unprecedented access to members of all branches of our all-volunteer military. The revealing documentary tells stories of pride and patriotism, sacrifice and resilience. Eight will also present “Portraits for the Home Front: The Story of Elizabeth Black,” at 9 p.m. On special assignment during World War II, Elizabeth Black sketched hundreds of soldiers, sailors and airmen throughout Europe and sent the treasured portraits to worried families back home. Through Black’s unforgettable sketches, rare archival images and interviews with the veterans and their families, the program explores Black’s lost art career and her distinguished service during World War II. It also captures memorable scenes of amazed families finally receiving the lost portraits, some of which capture loved ones killed in action.

For more information on Eight’s ongoing commitment to veteran services and support in the community visit azpbs.org/veterans.

About “The National Memorial Day Concert”

The “National Memorial Day Concert”is made possible by grants from the Lockheed Martin Corporation, the National Park Service, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Department of the Army, General Dynamics, PBS and public television stations nationwide. Air travel is provided by American Airlines.

Media Contact:  Colleen O’Donnell Pierce
[email protected]
(602) 496-0579
(602) 478-3867 (cell)

About Arizona PBS

Arizona PBS is a trusted community resource.  For over 52 years, the PBS station has focused on educating children, reporting in-depth on public affairs, fostering lifelong learning and celebrating arts and culture. Arizona PBS achieves its mission through the power of non-commercial television, the Internet, educational outreach and community-based initiatives. Its signal reaches 80 percent of the homes in Arizona. With more than 1 million viewers weekly, Arizona PBS consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. For more information, visit azpbs.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr.

Arizona PBS is a member-supported community service of Arizona State University and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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