Behind the Scenes Video: The Ceremony at the White House before tonight's Kennedy Center Honors

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The White House, Colleen Curtis - On December 4, the President welcomed the 2011 Kennedy Center honorees to the White House for a ceremony before the live performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

This year’s honorees are singer Barbara Cook, singer and songwriter Neil Diamond, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, saxophonist and composer Sonny Rollins, and actress Meryl Streep.

The annual awards show celebrates individuals who have made a lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts—whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures, or television.

Before you tune in for the  "Kennedy Center Honors" tonight at 8 pm CST on CBS, local channel 4, take a look at what the honorees had to say about being recognized for their body of work -- and about being invited to the White House: