Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This PBS documentary traces the role of music in the history of the White House, from the first appearance of the U.S. Marine Band at the New Year's Day 1801 celebration honoring President John Adams to the present day. Among the artists represented, either through rare recordings, film and video clips, or contemporary interviews, are Marian Anderson, Pablo Casals, Van Cliburn, Isaac Stern, Geoffrey Holder, and Willie Nelson. In addition, the special occasionally pauses to recall those presidents who possessed musical skills of their own, including violinist Thomas Jefferson, pianists Harry Truman and Richard Nixon, and saxophonist Bill Clinton. Garnished with historical commentary by the likes of Doris Kearns Goodwin and William Seale, White House: In Tune With History is an entertaining excursion down melody lane, D.C. style.