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Herbie Hancock, Billy Joel being honoured by Kennedy Center

Billy Joel, Carlos Santana, Herbie Hancock, Shirley MacLaine and Martina Arroyo at the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors Gala Dinner in Washington, D.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/REX

Five American artists, including musician Herbie Hancock, singer-songwriter Billy Joel and actress Shirley MacLaine, will be honoured by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Sunday evening.

“The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world,” Kennedy Center chairman David M. Rubenstein said in a release.

The other honorees include opera singer Martina Arroyo and musician-songwriter Carlos Santana. All five will be honoured at a gala in Washington, D.C., on Sunday evening.

U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife will receive the five at the White House before the gala, as well as members of the artists committee that nominated them and the Kennedy Center board of trustees.

The event, which is the cultural highlight of the year in Washington, will be broadcast on TV on Dec. 29.

The Kennedy Center Honors medallions were presented to the artists on Saturday night at a State Department dinner hosted by Secretary of State John Kerry.

Previous Honors recipients and members of the artists committee include Alec Baldwin, Harry Belafonte and Glenn Close.