05/19/2010 04:18 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Mexico State Dinner DETAILS: Musical Performers, Menu & Place Settings

The White House has released a background document on tonight's state dinner with Mexico, detailing who will perform, what the place will look like and offering a few fun historical facts. Check out the MENU DETAILS here.


The United States and Mexico are linked by geographical, historical, familial, cultural, economic, and security ties. In recognition of these deep ties and the strong relationship President Obama has forged with Mexican President Felipe Calderón, President Obama and the First Lady will host President Calderón and Mrs. Margarita Zavala in the White House for a State Dinner.

Tonight's State Dinner will be held in the East Room of the White House. Tonight's State Dinner Performance will be held under a tent on the South Lawn of the White House.

The most recent State Dinner held at the White House was for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mrs. Gursharan Kaur of India hosted on November 24, 2009.

The first State Dinner for a foreign head of state was held by President and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant on December 12, 1874 for King David Kalakaua of Hawaii.

Since that first dinner, many traditions have been added to State and Official Visits - yet the common theme of forging friendships, exchanging knowledge and building bridges that last for years to come remains unchanged.

History of State Dinners Honoring Mexico

v Previous State Dinners at the White House in honor of Mexico include those hosted by the following Presidents and First Ladies:

v President George W. Bush and Mrs. Laura Bush in 2001

v President William J. Clinton and Mrs. Hillary Clinton in 1995

v President George H.W. Bush and Mrs. Barbara Bush in 1989

v President Ronald Reagan and Mrs. Nancy Reagan in 1984

v President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter in 1977

v President Richard M. Nixon and Mrs. Patricia Nixon in 1972

v President Lyndon B. Johnson and Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson in 1967

Décor and Arrangements

Dinner Settings and Arrangements

Guests will sit at a combination of rectangular and round tables set for ten. The two presidents and two first ladies will sit at a head table of twenty. Tables will be covered in boldly striped linens made in three hues of Mayan blue. The colors resemble ripples of water.

Floral Arrangements and Centerpieces

The colorful centerpieces are arranged in handmade woven baskets that have been gilded. Bouquets of fuchsia flowers, including seasonal Yve Piaget garden roses, Amnesia Roses (grey-purple in color) and Fuchsia Cattleya orchids, are mixed with scented geranium foliage and prickly pear cactus.

Services and Place Settings

The tables will be set with china from the White House's historic collection.

Clinton - China, 2000

Trenton, New Jersey, Lenox, Inc. Gift of the White House Historical Association, 2000. Commissioned to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the White House.

Eisenhower - Porcelain, 1955

New Castle, Pennsylvania, Castleton China, Inc. U.S. Government purchase, 1955.

Performance Décor and Arrangements

The décor is designed to honor President Calderón and his birthplace of Michoacán, Mexico. The Monarch butterfly makes its annual migration from Canada to Michoacán in early spring each year and guests walking into the room will experience the sense of Monarch butterflies in flight.

The tables are decorated in natural shades of oranges and greens. The focal point of each table is a bouquet of marzipan and chocolate flowers. The flowers are made into marzipan roses, the national flower of America, and dahlias, the national flower of Mexico.


Performances by

v Beyoncé

v Rodrigo y Gabriela

v United States Marine Band


With a mesmerizing stage presence and visionary artistry, Beyoncé has earned her place in arts and culture globally. She has won over 100 awards including sixteen Grammys. This year she made Grammy history with six wins--the most by any female in a single year. She has starred in six highly successful films including Dreamgirls and Cadillac Records. She is a dedicated humanitarian through her work with Make-A-Wish, Feeding America and GEMS (Girls Educational and Mentoring Services). With her family in 2005, she created the Survivor Foundation, a charitable entity with the motto, "Where There's A Will, We Help Make A Way." The foundation provides aid for the homeless and displaced, recreational and educational services for kids in need, job training and placement, and assistance for those suffering from AIDS. Recently she opened the Beyoncé Cosmetology Center at Phoenix House in Brooklyn, New York to help former addicts learn skills to meet their personal and professional goals. Beyoncé is a phenomenal entertainer who continues to dazzle on and off stage.

Rodrigo y Gabriela

Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero met as teenagers in Mexico City, both dedicated heavy metal fans at the time. They combined their talents for a time in the metal group Tierra Acida, playing in some of the roughest clubs around Distrito Federal while working day jobs. Frustrated with their chances in the Americas, Sanchez and Quintero decided to try their luck in Europe. They traveled to Dublin, Ireland where a friend offered them a place to stay. Speaking no English, and with about a thousand dollars between them, they found that their offer of hospitality had vanished. The pair soon turned to busking on the streets of Dublin where they established many contacts and connections. Among their newfound friends was fellow busker Damien Rice, who asked them to accompany him on tour. They released their debut record in 2003 entitled Re-Foc, followed a year later by Live: Manchester and Dublin. They now continue to tour the world music circuit, compose, and record. Rodrigo y Gabriela have appeared on many national television shows, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman and the Today Show. Their recently sold out concert at Radio City Music Hall featured a guest performance by Robert Trujillo from Metallica.

The President's Own United States Marine Band

Founded in 1798 by an Act of Congress, "The President's Own" United States Marine Band is America's oldest continuously active professional musical organization. The band has performed for every president since John Adams. Known as "The President's Own" since the days of Thomas Jefferson, the Marine Band's primary mission is to provide music for the President of the United States and the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Today, "The President's Own" is celebrated for its role at the White House and its dynamic public performances. "The President's Own" encompasses the United States Marine Band, Marine Chamber Orchestra, and Marine Chamber Ensembles, and performs regularly at the White House and gives more than 500 public performances across the nation each year.