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October 24, 2014

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Obama honors Carlos Santana at Kennedy Center; specials airs Dec. 29 on CBS

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Steve Marcus

Carlos Santana smiles during a visit at Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. Santana brought a donation of 200 instruments for the school’s music students. The instruments came from Hermes Music, LP Music and PRS guitars.

Santana Makes Music Donation

Carlos Santana Andre Agassi makes a visit to students at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. Santana brought a surprise donation of 200 instruments for the school's music students. The instruments came from Hermes Music, LP Music, and PRS guitars. Launch slideshow »

Our House of Blues headliner, hometown hero and guitar guru Carlos Santana joined fellow legends at the Kennedy Center Honors with President Barack Obama over the weekend.

The show, to be broadcast on CBS on Dec. 29, includes fellow honorees singer-songwriter Billy Joel, composer and pianist Herbie Hancock, actress Shirley MacLaine and opera star Martina Arroya, with performances and tributes by singer Tony Bennett, The Eagles founder Don Henley, former Wynn headliner Garth Brooks (who confirmed today his world tour with singer wife Trisha Yearwood in 2014), Fox anchor Bill O’Reilly and first lady Michelle Obama.

The show opened with a medley of Santana music from Fher Olvera, frontman of Mana: “Magic Woman,” “Oye Como Va” and “Corazon Espinado.” Harry Belafonte Jr. introduced 66-year-old Carlos to the black-tie audience.

Carlos said he had never been to the Kennedy Center in the Nation’s Capital. He said that he learned English watching U.S. television and picked up the guitar after listening to rock ’n’ roll and blues on U.S. radio. By age 22, he played Woodstock.

Said the president: “The diverse group of extraordinary individuals we honor today haven’t just proven themselves to be the best of the best. Despite all their success, all their fame, they’ve remained true to themselves and inspired the rest of us to do the same.”

The 2013 Kennedy Honor recognized Carlos and the other artists for their lifetime contributions to U.S. culture through the performing arts. Carlos is currently wrapping up a new studio recording here in Las Vegas for his next release early in the New Year. He returns for more shows at HOB in Mandalay Bay in January and February.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

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Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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