The lineup of President-elect Barack Obama's and Vice President-elect Joseph Biden's Inauguration Ceremonies has been announced. The program participants were based on requests from the President-elect and the Vice President-elect.
First on the menu will be some musical selections performed by the United States Marine Corps Band. Founded in 1798 by an Act of Congress, the so-called "The President's Own Band" is America's oldest professional musical organization.
They will be followed by the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Founded in 1948 and has become an internationally acclaimed Grammy-award winning organization and has performed for dignitaries such as Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth II of England, King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden, HM Prince of Wales, the President of the former Soviet Union, and of course former US presidents. The Girls Chourus was founded 30 years after the Boys in 1978, but has enjoyed some of the same success' as their male counterparts including being a part of three Grammy Award-winning performances.
Following the musical selection there will be the official Call to Order and welcoming remarks being made by Senator Diane Feinstein of California. Feinstein was instrumental in brokering a peace between then presumptive Democratic nominee Obama and his cheif rival and Secretary of State selection Hillary Clinton.
The invocation to be performed by Rick Warren, Pastor of the Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA. The choice of Warren to perform this task has greatly fueled outrage and protests from the gay community, who take issue with Warren's statements of disapproval for homosexuality and his support of Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban that passed in California on Election Day. The President-elect defended his selection of Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration, saying that he disagrees with some of the minister's positions, but that there should be room for "dialogue" on such difficult social issues.
A musical selection will follow the invocation and be performed by the legendary "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin. During her 50 year career, Ms. Franklin has been recognized as one of America’s greatest singers. She has won 21 Grammy Awards, including the Living Legend Grammy and the Lifetime Achievement Grammy. This fall Rolling Stone Magazine named Franklin the Greatest Singer of the Rock Era. “The Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Franklin has been awarded the National Medal of Arts, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Kennedy Center Honors. Franklin told the Detroit Free Press, "I feel great pride, respect and honor to have been invited to participate in this universal and global celebration for such a phenomenal man, President-elect Barack Obama. And to participate in what promises to be one of the greatest moments in American history. I am so glad he came along in my lifetime."
Following Ms. Fraklin's performance, the Oath of Office to Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. will follow. The Honorable John Paul Stevens, an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court will perform the swearing in for the Vice-President.
The next round of musical performances will feature a musical selection by a mini orchestra of world renowned artists chosen by legendary composer and Oscar winner John Williams. Featured will be; Itzhak Perlman, one of the greatest violinists of our day; Yo-Yo Ma, world renowned cellist and arts ambassador; Gabriela Montero, a pianist known for her impeccable classical playing; Anthony McGill, principal clarinetist of the New York Metropolitan Orchestra. I expect many classical and contemporary music buffs will greatly enjoy this part of the ceremony.
The main event of the day will then take place with Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John G. Roberts, Jr., delivering the Presidential Oath of Office Delivered to President-elect Barack H. Obama. This will be followed by perhaps the most anticipated Inaugural Address in the history of the United States. With all of the campaign bluster dished out by his rivals about Obama's penchant for delivering a great speech, this should be oe for all-time and could perhaps go down as one of the greatest of all time.
The Benediction will be delivered afterward by Reverend Dr. Joseph E. Lowery. The former civil rights leader and retired pastor of Atlanta’s Cascade United Methodist Church appears to represent the opposite of the man giving the invocation in that he is gay-friendly.
The first National Anthem performed for the newly minted President Barack Hussein Obama will be performed by the United States Navy Band “Sea Chanters”, and then the new President will embark on his journey to the White House to begin to lead the country.