Singer Elton John will perform at the White House Friday night, according to a release from the White House.
There is a large tent being erected on the South Lawn for the event, the construction of which began Monday, a White House official told CNN. Approximately 2,000 guests have been invited to attend and the concert has been in the works for several months, the official said.
John is performing at the White House for an evening titled, “A Night When Hope and History Rhyme,” for a concert in a collaboration with A&E Networks and The History Channel. The concert will air on television at a date to be determined, the official said.
According to the release, the event will “celebrate the unifying and healing power of music, commend the life and work of Sir Elton John, and honor the everyday history-makers in the audience, including teachers, nurses, frontline workers, mental health advocates , students, LGBTQ+ advocates and more.” President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden will make remarks during the evening. A&E Networks and The History Channel are paying for the event, according to the White House.
A White House official told CNN that John’s team “expressed an interest on his behalf in playing again at the White House.” In 1998, John was invited by then-President Bill Clinton to entertain at a State Dinner for then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The Friday event title comes from a line in Seamus Heaney’s poem, “The Cure of Troy.” Biden has often cited Heaney as his favorite poet, and the President has used the “when hope and history rhyme” line from the poem several times during his political career, including at his acceptance speech at the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
The last stanza of the poem reads:
“That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.
It means once in a lifetime
That justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.”
The connection between Biden and John was revealed in Biden’s 2017 memoir, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose.” Biden wrote that he used to listen to John’s music with his sons, Beau and Hunter Biden, and years later, when Beau was ill with brain cancer, Biden would sing the artist’s songs to him in the hospital.
John is scheduled to perform a concert at Nationals Park on Saturday night.