U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (R) speaks as musicians Lyle Lovett (L), Darlene Love (2nd L), Rodney Crowell (3rd L), and Rhiannon Giddens (4th L) listen during a workshop for students on "The History of Gospel Music" April 14, 2015 at the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (R) speaks as musicians Lyle Lovett (L), Darlene Love (2nd L), Rodney Crowell (3rd L), and Rhiannon Giddens (4th L) listen during a workshop for students on “The History of Gospel Music” April 14, 2015 at the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC.

*Michelle Obama hosted a morning workshop on gospel music ahead of tonight’s concert at the White House, calling the spiritual genre a “ray of hope” that fueled her overall love of music.

“It’s what helps connect us to God, to that higher power,” FLOTUS said Tuesday at the White House-arranged gathering for students from around the country. “For so many, when times have darkened, when there’s struggle, gospel music is that ray of hope and it gives you that strength.”

Tonight, Aretha Franklin and Darlene Love are among the top recording artists set to blow the roof onto Pennsylvania Ave. The concert is the latest in the “In Performance at the White House” series broadcast by PBS. It will stream live tonight on the White House website, http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/live and broadcast nationwide by PBS on June 26.

The first lady said her earliest memories of being exposed to music involve gospel, and that it made her want to start piano lessons at age 4.

“I didn’t keep it up,” she said.

President Obama is scheduled to make brief remarks about gospel’s role in American music before the show begins.

“There’s nothing like hearing a choir sing an old gospel track,” Mrs. Obama said. “When you hear that, it gets your feet tapping and your heart pumping.”