Garth Brooks receives Kennedy Center Honors along with Dick Van Dyke, Debbie Allen and more

This year’s Kennedy Center Honors was a slimmed-down affair due to the coronavirus pandemic. The 43rd class of honorees included country music legend Garth Brooks, actor Dick Van Dyke, dancer and choreographer Debbie Allen, singer-songwriter Joan Baez and violinist Midori. They were honored Friday night at a medallion ceremony that had been delayed from December 2020.

All the honorees called the lifetime artistic achievement award a unique honor, even for an accomplished artist. Brooks joked: “I don’t mind being the weak link on the chain. I’m in the chain!” The medallion ceremony is typically held at the State Department, however this year it was moved to the Kennedy Center’s opera house, with about 120 people spread out at tables on the stage and backstage area looking out at the empty rows of seats. Singer Gloria Estefan hosted the ceremony and cellist Yo Yo Ma performed; both are previous Kennedy Center Honors recipients.

Editorial credit: Debby Wong /