The concert is broadcast LIVE from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, where there is always something interesting to see. Take a front seat to the "National Memorial Day Concert!"
The “National Memorial Day Concert” features award-winning stars and well-known personalities.
For over thirty years, Gary Sinise’s dedication to our nation’s active duty defenders, veterans and first responders has become a tireless crusade of support, service and gratitude to all those who serve and protect America. His portrayal of Lt. Dan Taylor in the landmark film “Forrest Gump” formed an enduring connection with servicemen and women throughout the military community. After embarking on USO handshake tours in 2003, Sinise formed the “Lt. Dan Band” which now performs nearly 50 concerts a year for military bases, charities and fundraisers. Sinise serves as spokesperson for the Disabled American Veterans and the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Foundation, and was instrumental in the fundraising efforts of the Pentagon Memorial in Washington, D.C. and The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance in NYC. He also serves on the board of directors for Snowball Express, executive council for The Medal of Honor Foundation and the USO, and is an advisory board member for Hope for the Warriors. Among his many awards, Sinise has received the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment from the Medal of Honor Society, the Presidential Citizens Medal, the Department of Defense's Spirit of Hope Award, and was named an honorary Chief Petty Officer by the Navy. In 2013, he received the Civic Statesmanship Award from the United States Former Members of Congress and the Easter Seals Advocacy Award. In June 2011, he launched the Gary Sinise Foundation (GarySiniseFoundation.org) as an extension of his individual efforts. Its mission is to serve and honor our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families and those in need by creating and supporting unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities. “Freedom and security are precious gifts that we, as Americans, should never take for granted,” says Sinise. “We must do all we can to extend our hand in times of need to those who willingly sacrifice each day to provide that freedom and security. While we can never do enough to show our gratitude to our nation’s defenders, we can always do a little more.” For more information, please visit Gary Sinise Foundation.
Joe Mantegna is a world-class and award-winning entertainer with a strong background in television, theater and film who returns to co-host the “National Memorial Day Concert” for his eighth consecutive year with Gary Sinise. Currently, Mantegna stars as FBI Special Agent David Rossi in season eight of the hit CBS drama “Criminal Minds”. He also currently has hosting and producing duties on “Gun Stories” for the Outdoor Channel. Mantegna’s acting credits are long and impressive and he has received critical acclaim for his performances. He has numerous Emmy nominations and was awarded the Tony and Joseph Jefferson Award for his acclaimed performance as Richard Roma in David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Glengarry Glen Ross”. Some of Mantegna’s film and television highlights include: “House of Games,” “Searching for Bobby Fisher,” “Godfather III,” the role of Dean Martin in “The Ratpack” (for which he received both an Emmy and a Golden Globe nomination), the CBS mini-series “The Last Don”(for which he received his second Emmy nomination); the voice of “Fat Tony” on “The Simpsons” and the voice of “Grem” in “Cars2.” For two seasons, he starred with Mary Steenburgen and Amber Tamblyn in the critically acclaimed CBS drama “Joan of Arcadia,” winner of the 2004 People Choice Award for best new drama as well as picking up three Emmy nominations. In 2008, Mantegna reprised his Emmy nominated role of Lou Manahan opposite Debra Messing in the USA Network series “The Starter Wife”. He recently completed the feature films “The Bronx Bull,” “Ten Cent Pistol” and “Compulsion.” He also is co-producing a documentary on the late science fiction icon Ray Bradbury that is due out in 2013. With a rich family history in the military, Mantegna has long been a supporter of our men and women who serve. In May of 2012, he was appointed the National Spokesperson for The U.S. Army Museum, to lead the fundraising campaign to build the long-planned National Museum of the United States Army. Born and raised in Chicago, Mantegna lives in Los Angeles and, in April of 2011, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For more information, visit www.joemantegna.com.
For over fifty years, General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) has devoted his life to public service. Having held senior military and diplomatic positions across four presidential administrations, Powell’s deep commitment to democratic values and freedom has been felt throughout the world. From 1987-1989 Powell served as President Ronald Reagan’s National Security Advisor. He served from 1989-1993 as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for both President George H.W. Bush and for President Bill Clinton, and was not only the youngest officer and first ROTC graduate to ever serve in the position but was also the first African American to do so. During his time as Chairman, he oversaw 28 crises to include the Panama intervention of 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Under President George W. Bush, Powell was appointed the 65th Secretary of State, leading the State Department in major efforts to address and solve regional and civic conflicts in the Middle East, Sudan, Congo and Liberia, in the Balkans, Haiti, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. Powell is the Founder of the Colin L. Powell Center for Leadership and Service at his alma mater, the City College of New York. The Center is student-focused with a mission to develop a new generation of publicly engaged leaders. He is the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the America’s Promise Alliance, dedicated to forging a strong and effective partnership alliance committed to seeing that children experience the fundamental resources they need to succeed. Currently, Powell is a strategic limited partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the renowned Silicon Valley venture capital firm, and is on the board of Bloom Energy. He is the Chairman of the Advisory Board of Leeds Equity Partners, a private equity firm focused on investments in the education, training, information and business services industries. He is also the Chairman of the Eisenhower Fellowships, a cross-cultural program for emerging international leaders. His autobiography, “My American Journey,” was a bestseller and has been published in more than a dozen languages. Powell’s second book, “It Worked For Me,” was an instant “New York Times” bestseller and reveals the lessons that shaped his life and career. For more information, follow Gen. Colin Powell on Facebook.
Jack Everly is the Principal Pops Conductor of the Baltimore and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras, Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and National Arts Center Orchestra (Ottawa). He has been on stage with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, The New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, appears annually with The Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center and is a frequent guest conductor with orchestras including Pittsburgh, Edmonton and Oklahoma City. Originally appointed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, Everly was conductor of the American Ballet Theatre for 14 years, where he served as Music Director. In addition to his ABT tenure, he has teamed with Marvin Hamlisch in Broadway shows that Hamlisch scored, including “The Goodbye Girl,” “They’re Playing Our Song” and “A Chorus Line.” He conducted Carol Channing in “Hello, Dolly!” in two separate Broadway productions. In television and film, Everly has appeared on “In Performance at the White House” and conducted the songs for Disney’s animated classic “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” He has been Music Director on numerous Broadway cast recordings and conducted the critically praised “Everything’s Coming Up Roses: The Complete Overtures of Broadway’s Jule Styne.” Everly conducted Sandi Patty’s 2011 release “Broadway Stories” and Daniel Rodriguez’s “In the Presence” from 2005, both with the Czech Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra of Prague. In 1998, Everly created the Symphonic Pops Consortium serving as Music Director. The consortium, based in Indianapolis, produces a new theatrical pops program each season. In the past fourteen years, more than 250 performances of SPC programs have taken place across the U.S. and Canada. Maestro Everly holds an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Franklin College in his home state of Indiana.
The National Symphony Orchestra of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, led by Music Director Christoph Eschenbach, is recognized not only nationally but internationally as well, and is considered one of the world's finest ensembles. The Orchestra, in its 82nd season (2012-13), maintains a busy concert schedule in this country and abroad. Within the last year the NSO has visited nine countries on four continents. The NSO performs approximately 175 concerts each season, including a classical subscription series, pops concerts, a summer series at Wolf Trap, and one of the nation’s most varied and extensive educational programs. The National Symphony is particularly distinguished for its commitment to the music and musicians of this country, exemplified through several innovative projects, among them the American Residency program, which took the National Symphony to 21 states performing concerts and providing educational services, with all proceeds benefiting artistic organizations in the local states. Through the John and June Hechinger Commissioning Fund, the Orchestra has commissioned more than 60 works by American composers; two have earned Pulitzer Prizes, and the series also includes cycles of fanfares and encores, which, taken as a whole, are representative of the diverse influences in American composition today. The Orchestra provides free public concerts on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, as well as at other venues around the Washington, DC, area. For more information on the National Symphony’s programs, please visit www.nationalsymphony.org.
The Military District of Washington works with Capital Concerts in coordinating the Department of Defense participation of the Premier Service Bands and Service Honor Guards.
The United States Army Herald Trumpets is the official fanfare ensemble for the President of the United States. Founded in 1959 and patterned after traditional British “fanfare” trumpet ensembles, The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets was formed to add splendor to official military ceremonies. A performing element of The United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own” in Washington, DC, the ensemble has performed for countless events of national and international significance. These include twelve presidential inaugurals, the “G8” Economic Summits in 1984, 1990 and 2004, the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations and, most recently, the arrival of Pope Benedict XVI at the White House in April 2008. In addition to its official duties, The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets has performed in the opening ceremonies for the 1980 and 2002 Winter Olympic Games, the 1984 Summer Olympic Games and the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The ensemble has also performed at such nationally and internationally televised events as Super Bowl XXXIX, The Kennedy Center Honors and the relighting of the Statue of Liberty. The U.S. Army Herald Trumpets has been featured with orchestras from around the world, including the National Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Istanbul State Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops and the Cincinnati Pops.
In 1956, the U.S. Army Chorus was established as the vocal counterpart of The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” and is one of the nation’s only professional, all-male choruses. From its inception, the U.S. Army Chorus has established and maintained a reputation of excellence in the performance of male choral literature. Beyond the traditional military music and patriotic standards, the repertoire of the U.S. Army Chorus covers a broad spectrum that includes pop, Broadway, folk and classical music. The U.S. Army Chorus performs often at the White House and in support of functions hosted by the U.S. Departments of State and Defense. The Chorus is a standard feature at events for each presidential inaugural, and has been featured in official ceremonies and special events at the U.S. Capitol. The men of the Army Chorus, most of whom hold advanced degrees in music, are selected from among the nation’s finest musicians. In 2006, the group celebrated its 50th anniversary with concerts that included a reunion of past members, many of whom have gone on to successful careers in music education and as soloists on Broadway and opera stages around the world.
The Soldiers’ Chorus, founded in 1957, is the vocal complement of the United States Army Field Band of Washington, DC. The 29-member mixed choral ensemble travels throughout the nation and abroad, performing as a separate component and in joint concerts with the Concert Band of the “Musical Ambassadors of the Army.” The chorus has performed in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, India, the Far East and throughout Europe, entertaining audiences of all ages. The musical backgrounds of Soldiers’ Chorus personnel – ranging from opera and musical theatre to music education and vocal coaching – provide unique programming flexibility. In addition to selections from a vast choral repertoire, Soldiers’ Chorus performances often include the music of Broadway, opera, barbershop quartet and Americana. This versatility has earned The Soldiers’ Chorus an international reputation for musical excellence and patriotic inspiration. Recent appearances with the Boston Pops, the Cincinnati Pops, and the Detroit, Dallas and National symphony orchestras have met with critical acclaim. Other notable performances include four world fairs, American Choral Directors Association conferences, music educator conventions, Kennedy Center Honors Programs, the 750th anniversary of Berlin and the rededication of the Statue of Liberty.
The United States Navy Band Sea Chanters is the official chorus of the United States Navy. The ensemble performs a wide variety of music, ranging from traditional choral music, including the sea chantey, to Broadway musicals. Under the leadership of Chief Musician Georgina L. Todd, the Sea Chanters appear throughout the United States and often perform at the White House, the Vice President’s home and for other Washington dignitaries. In 1956, Lt. Harold Fultz, then the Band’s assistant leader, organized a vocal ensemble from the Navy School of Music in Anacostia to sing chanteys and patriotic songs for the State of the Nation dinner. With the ensemble’s immediate success, Admiral Arleigh Burke, then Chief of Naval Operations, transferred the group to the Navy Band, named them the “Sea Chanters” and tasked this all-male chorus with perpetuating the songs of the sea. Female voices were added in 1980, increasing the chorus’s repertoire. The Sea Chanters have become one of the preeminent professional choral ensembles in the country. They have performed at national events and have played a vital role in comforting the nation in times of mourning. Throughout their history, the Sea Chanters have remained true to the Navy’s watchwords of pride and professionalism.
The Singing Sergeants, the official chorus of the United States Air Force, is one of the world's most versatile and traveled choral organizations. Originally formed in 1945 from within the ranks of The United States Air Force Band, the chorus is now composed entirely of professional vocalists from leading colleges, universities and music conservatories throughout the world; and who are all sergeants in the United States Air Force. The Singing Sergeants have appeared before every chief executive of the United States since President Truman, as well as with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia, Cleveland, Houston and National Symphony Orchestras, and both the Boston and Cincinnati Pops. The group has performed at White House, State Department, Supreme Court, Congressional, Department of Defense and high-level civilian functions. Additionally, an important part of the chorus' performing schedule is supporting the president and vice president of the United States, as well as top government and military officials. Presenting the music of America to the people of the world, the chorus has appeared before millions of people in live performances and countless more on radio and television programs. The Singing Sergeants have performed in all 50 states and 49 countries, including a historic trip to the People's Republic of China. It is through these goodwill tours that The Singing Sergeants bring the people of America and the world together.
This year’s award-winning production team features the Capital Concerts’ founder and top Hollywood talent.
Jerry Colbert is the Executive Producer and founder of two of television’s longest-running and multi-award winning live programs that commemorate America’s most important holidays. “A Capitol Fourth,” our country’s biggest birthday party, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2010 and was the second highest-rated program in primetime on PBS for the 2011-2012 season. The “National Memorial Day Concert” has become the nation’s premier tribute to our men and women in uniform during its 23 years on air and was the number four top-rated program in primetime on PBS for the 2011-2012 season. Colbert also served as Executive Producer of the “National Salute to Veterans”that aired on PBS November 11, 2012. In addition to his annual work on these events, Colbert has produced many films such as “Mr. Justice Brennan,” “Sister Adrian,” the “Mother Teresa of Scranton,” “The Regulators: Our Invisible Government” and “H.R. 6161: An Act of Congress.” Colbert previously served as deputy director of the Center for Understanding Media in New York.
A principal in Capital Concerts for over fifteen years, Executive Vice-President Michael Colbert directs the organization year round in addition to serving as Producer for the “National Memorial Day Concert” and “A Capitol Fourth.” He also served as Executive Producer of the “National Salute to Veterans”that aired on PBS November 11, 2012. Colbert is the primary liaison with the over twenty government and non-governmental Washington agencies and organizations that contribute to the shows, and directs the hundreds of television professionals who participate annually. With more than 20 years of experience, Colbert's credits include major national television specials on CBS, Fox, PBS and Comedy Central in locations ranging from Washington, DC, New York and Los Angeles to Nashville. He has also produced a wide range of major corporate events.
Producer Walter C. Miller is recognized as America’s leading live director and producer with credits including television’s top awards shows, such as the “Grammy Awards,” “Country Music Awards,” “The People’s Choice Awards,” “Tony Awards,” “American Comedy Awards,” “The Emmy Awards,” “Daytime Emmy Awards” and “Golden Globe Awards.” In 1999, he won an Emmy for producing the “Tony Awards.” For “Liberty Weekend: Americana Music Concert,” Miller received the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Director. He has won additional Emmys for “S’Wonderful, S’Marvelous, S’Gershwin,” a special with Jack Lemmon and Fred Astaire, “Annie, The Women In A Life Of A Man.” His live musical concert credits include “Concert of the Americas” with Frank Sinatra in addition to “A Capitol Fourth” and the “National Memorial Day Concert.”
Paul Miller has been directing television since 1982, with credits including three seasons as director of “Saturday Night Live” and four as director of “In Living Color.” He has received four Emmy nominations, and won in 1999, for directing the “Tony Awards,” and again in 2010 for directing ABC News’ coverage of the Inauguration of President Barrack Obama. He has also been nominated twice for the Directors Guild of America in the Musical/Variety category and won for directing the “Tony Awards”. In addition, Miller has directed the “Country Music Awards”for the last fifteen years as well as “CMA Christmas” for three years. He has also directed “An American Celebration at Ford’s Theater”multiple times. Other credits include directing the December 2011 and 2012 broadcasts on NBC of the “American Giving Awards,” a celebrity tribute to community heroes. On July 4, 1993, he teamed professionally with his father, Walter C. Miller, for “A Capitol Fourth” and has directed both the “National Memorial Day Concert” and “A Capitol Fourth”. Paul Miller is a partner in RickMill Productions, a Hollywood based entertainment company that has produced numerous series for Comedy Central as well as specials for HBO and Showtime. This season, Miller has produced and directed “Off Their Rockers” starring Betty White for NBC.
Barr Weissman has produced and edited the documentary segments for the “National Memorial Day Concert”since 1998. Weissman edited and helped produce several independent documentaries; including the Academy Award winning film, “The Stonecarvers” and “Mr. Justice Brennan.” He has directed and edited biographical films for the Kennedy Center Honors (including films on The Who, Mel Brooks and Bruce Springsteen). In addition, he has produced and edited documentaries for the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, NBC, PBS, and others. His work has been recognized by the Emmy’s, received awards at film festivals worldwide, and screened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Weissman’s most recent film, “The Secret To A Happy Ending” has screened at film festivals and theaters worldwide and received 4 stars from Rolling Stone. A native Washingtonian, Weissman produced and independently distributed two critically acclaimed documentaries about the city – “Home: The Langston Terrace Dwellings” and “A View From The Street: The Art Of Lily Spandorf.”
Writer Celia Straus has received a number of nominations and awards for her work as a writer for local PBS programming including “The Man Who Loved the Stars,” starring Ossie Davis, “Give and Take,” (Action for Children’s Television award, nomination National Emmy)and “Tax Whys” (Gold, Ohio State Award). She has garnered Cine Golden Eagles, and industrial film festival gold and silver awards as scriptwriter for the American Red Cross, Agency for Instructional Television, USDA, Discovery, National Trust for Historic Preservation and MPT, among others. She was the writer/co-producer of the annual national broadcast of the Thomas “Jefferson Awards for Public Service” and served as co-writer/producer for the full length documentary, “Broke, the American Dream,” which premiered on the Documentary Channel. For the past decade she has worked with numerous veterans service organizations and written the book, “Hidden Battles on Unseen Fronts, Stories of American Soldiers with PTSD and TBI,” Casemate, 2009. Her trilogy on spiritual parenting included the national best seller, “Prayers On My Pillow,” Ballantine Books, 1998.