First Lady Michelle Obama paraded her new haircut as she took the stage with her daughters at Kids’ Inaugural Concert, the star-studded gala for military families Saturday night, marking the beginning of inauguration weekend festivities.
Some of Hollywood’s biggest recording artists, from Usher to Katy Perry, Alicia Keys and Fun., gathered at the Washington Convention Center in DC entertain hundreds of DC-area children and spouses of service members.
Dressed in a casual yet chic ensemble consisting of a while loose blouse cinched at the waist with a vibrant belt paired with ankle-length trousers, Michelle Obama appeared on stage accompanied by her daughters. President Barack Obama was not in attendance at the gala.
“Inauguration is a really big deal. There’s balls. Everybody dress up and dances,” Michelle Obama told the children.
“Let me tell you: I love every single minute of it. Every single minute. But I have to tell you that my very favorite part of this entire weekend is being right here with all of you.”
Usher performed his hit song OMG after Yeah and Without You, while Katy Perry put on a patriotic show with Firework set to a slideshow of President Obama shaking hands and talking on the phone.
Far East Movement and a gospel fusion group called Soul Children of Chicago performed as well, but neither Stevie Wonder nor Smokey Robinson, who were both originally reported to be in the lineup, made an appearance.
The night’s entertainment also included Mindless Behavior and members of the cast of the Fox series Glee.
The concert continues a tradition started at the 2009 inauguration by honoring the nation’s military families. It’s being hosted by Michelle Obama and the vice president’s wife, Jill Biden, and emceed by Nick Cannon.
But the Kids’ Inaugural Concert was not the only glamorous event in town Saturday night.
To continue the weekend’s festivities, the Texas State Society hosted the Black Tie & Boots Inaugural Ball at the Gaylord National Resort in DC.
The western-themed gala featured performances from several country acts, including legendary signer Charley Pride, Rodney Foster, Jack Ingram, with a special appearance by actor Jamie Foxx.
This year’s ball continues a tradition that has been in place for more than 30 years.
The glamorous variety show featuring musical performances, a presidential puppet show and speeches from dignitaries came just hours after the first family took part in the National Day of Service.
On the brink of a second term, the president invoked Martin Luther King Jr.’s commitment to service Saturday.
“I think we’re on the cusp of some really great things,” Vice President Joe Biden predicted for a country still recovering from a deep recession.
The president made only a glancing reference to race as he spoke at an elementary school not far from the White House after he and first lady Michelle Obama stained a bookcase as part of a national service event organized by the inaugural committee.
“We think about not so much the inauguration, but we think about this is Dr. King’s birthday we’re going to be celebrating this weekend,” the president said.
The National Day of Service and the night’s star-studded event set the stage for a weekend of festivities to mark the beginning of Barack Obama’s second term in office.
Freshly built inaugural stands at the Capitol gleamed white in the sun, and hundreds of chairs for special guests were set out on the lawn that spills down toward the National Mall as the president and vice president began their inauguration weekend.
Officials estimated that as many as 800,000 people will attend Monday’s public ceremonies. That’s more than live in the city, if far fewer than the 1.8 million who were at Barack Obama’s first inauguration in 2009.
Because the date for inauguration set in the Constitution, January 20, falls on a Sunday this year, Barack Obama and Joe Biden were to be sworn in for second terms in separate, private ceremonies on Sunday.
The public ceremonies are set for Monday, when Barack Obama will take the oath of office at noon, then deliver an inaugural address before a large crowd and a national television audience in the millions.
American Idol alum Kelly Clarkson will perform My Country Tis of Thee, James Taylor will sing America the Beautiful and long-time Barack Obama supporter Beyonce will entertain the crowd with her rendition of the national anthem.
The traditional lunch with lawmakers in the Capitol follows, and the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the White House.
There, a reviewing stand was adorned with the presidential seal and equipped with seats enough for Barack Obama and other dignitaries to watch in relative comfort as military units, marching bands, floats and thousands of participants go past. A pair of inauguration balls will cap the day, including one with a guest list that runs to 40,000 names.
A select few – those who donated as much as $1 million to defray inauguration expenses – received special access to public as well as invitation-only receptions and parties.
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton headlined a National Day of Service gathering under a tent on the National Mall, where she said she had been inspired by her grandmother, as well as her famous parents. She urged her audience to become part of a “chain of service” by helping the less fortunate.
Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, spent time at an armory pitching in as volunteers packed 100,000 care kits for deployed members of the military, wounded warriors, veterans and first responders.
Joe Biden credited former President George H. W. Bush, a Republican, for starting the “Points of Light” program, which was a sponsor of the event. He said service was an antidote to “the coarsening of our culture. We’ve got to get back to reaching out to people”.