Canada's Joni Mitchell Among Kennedy Center Honourees

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Canada’s Joni Mitchell will be feted at the 44th Kennedy Center Honors later this year, it was announced Wednesday.

“I’m grateful to the Kennedy Center for bestowing this honour on my work and I look forward to being a part of this prestigious celebration of the arts,” read a tweet attiiubuted to the 77-year-old singer-songwriter. “I wish my mother and father were alive to see this. It’s a long way from Saskatoon.”

Mitchell was born in Fort Macleod, Alberta, raised in Saskatoon and started her music career in Toronto. She has lived most of her life in California.

Kennedy Center Honors recognize people in the performing arts for their lifetime contributions to American culture.

“This year’s honorees represent the unifying power of the Arts and surely remind us of that which binds us together as human beings,” said Kennedy Center president Deborah F. Rutter, in a statement.

Also being honoured are Mitchell’s fellow Canadian, Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels, as well as Motown founder Berry Gordy, actress-singer Bette Midler and opera singer Justino Díaz.

Mitchell and Michaels are the first Canadians to make the cut since Hume Cronyn was honoured in 1986.

Berry, 91, said in a statement: “Growing up in Detroit, I was not only Black but the ‘black sheep’ of my family. I was a failure at everything I did until I was 29 years old… The arts not only give voice to the voiceless, but connect us, transform us, and soothe our souls. The Kennedy Center Honors epitomizes the recognition and value of both the arts, and the artist.”

Midler said, in a statement, that she is “profoundly touched by this honour.” She added: “In fact, I am stunned and grateful beyond words. For many years I have watched this broadcast celebrating the best talent in the performing arts that America has to offer, and I truly never imagined that I would find myself among these swans.”

The 44th Kennedy Center Honors will take place in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 5 and will be broadcast at a later date.

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