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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 6, 1996

The South Lawn

8:00 P.M. EDT

MRS. CLINTON: Thank you. Please be seated, and welcome to the White House. We are so delighted to have you here for "In Performance At The White House."

During our years here in Washington, this series of public broadcasting specials has vividly demonstrated the rich diversity that is this country's musical soul. Together, we have celebrated the anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival. We have enjoyed the intimacy of cabaret music in the East Room. We have experienced the magnificent sound of Aretha Franklin in the Rose Garden. And we have shared this same stage with three outstanding country singers.

Music is a vibrant and essential ingredient of all our lives, and through these public broadcasting specials, we are united as Americans in our appreciation of our nation's unique cultural gifts.

We also, the President and I, have a special opportunity every time we host "In Performance" because we get to listen to the rehearsals. And for the past two days, we have been able to hear ahead of time, from a distance, what all of you are going to enjoy this evening.

So it is a special pleasure for us to welcome you here on this glorious Spring evening and for me to be able to introduce the real number one music lover in our country, the President of the United States. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. There is another benefit to you that we heard them all practicing, which is you won't have to endure our impulse sing-along night. We did that yesterday. (Laughter.)

The two artists with us tonight are classic examples of the splendid, intricate tapestry of American music. Both have expanded their own musical horizons and ours as they have woven the richness of their own heritage into popular culture.

In 1993, these Grammy Award winners performed during the Inaugural celebration for Hillary and me and for all of America. They were truly a highlight of that extraordinary week. This evening we are thrilled to have them join us for the first time here at the White House.

It has been said of Aaron Neville that when he sings, "It's like a knowing angel who has experienced both Heaven and the gritty reality of a working man's life." Aaron's style reflects the lush multi-cultural mix of his native city of New Orleans. He has blended rock and funk, gospel and country, and rhythm and blues to create the rich, exciting sound that is unmistakably all his own.

Our other guest reflects the finest spirit of our great country. Her willingness to experiment, while maintaining the best of the past has helped her sell more than 30 million recordings. By combining the mariachi sounds of Mexico, big band swing, rock and roll, Broadway, and opera, she has won devoted followers everywhere in the music world.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce Linda Ronstadt. (Applause.)

END 8:04 P.M. EDT