“The Kennedy Center celebrates icons who, through their artistry, have left an indelible stamp on our collective cultural consciousness” ~David Rubenstein, Kennedy Center Chairman
Each year the Kennedy Center, honors the best in the arts. This years honorees are Linda Ronstadt, Sally Field, Sesame Street, Michael Tilson Thomas and the band “Earth, Wind and Fire.” Ronstadt and Maurice White, one the bands founders were both diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
Among those presenting and performing in honor of Linda Ronstadt were Don Henley, Emmylou Harris, Carrie Underwood, Trisha Yearwood and Aaron Neville. Those honoring “Earth, Wind and Fire included John Legend, David Foster, Ne-Yo and the Jonas Brothers. Some of the songs performed included the legendary hits, “When Will I Be Loved”, “You’re No Good”, “Shining Star” and “September.”
Almost as important as the music, is a reminder of the devastation that Parkinson’s Disease can bring. It ended the musical careers of both Ronstadt and White. For Ronstadt, it attacked her vocal cords. It took away the incredible voice that thrilled fans of all genres of music. For White, who began his career as a session drummer for Chess Records and continued to drum with EWF, it’s hard, if not impossible to play the drums when dealing with tremors.
However, even if PD was a career-ender, life continued. White lived two decades after his diagnosis, while Ronstadt is in her seventh year since her announcing her diagnosis, although it was more than a decade earlier that she started feeling the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
The honoring of Linda Ronstadt and Maurice White again brings international attention to Parkinson’s Disease. Usually the attention brings dollars that goes toward research. It also help fund programs that make the lives of Parkinson’s patients better.
It was a great night for music and more at the Kennedy Center Honors. It was an even better night for people in the Parkinson’s Disease community. The best night is yet to come. That’s when a cure for Parkinson’s Disease is found.
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