Aretha Franklin To Sing At Obama Inauguration
Aretha Franklin will sing, the Rev. Rick Warren will pray and more than 11,000 U.S. troops will be watching over inauguration ceremonies in case of an attack during President-elect Barack Obama's swearing-in on Jan. 20.
As many as 4 million visitors are expected to be on hand when Obama takes the noontime oath from Chief Justice John Roberts on the steps of the Capitol.
The program is to feature poet Elizabeth Alexander; the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a veteran civil rights leader; the U.S. Marine and Navy bands; and the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, said the day would be "an event of historic proportion."
"It is appropriate that the program will include some of the world's most gifted artists from a wide range of backgrounds and genres," she said.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Gabriela Montero and clarinetist Anthony McGill will perform a new work composed by John Williams, who also provided music for Obama's election night rally in Chicago's Grant Park. The committee did not release a title for the work by Williams, who is best known for his film scores such as "Star Wars" and "Jaws."
Vice President-elect Joe Biden will take his oath from Justice John Paul Stevens. Others on the schedule were a nod to Obama's election as the country's first black president.
Lowery, who co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King, Jr., was scheduled to offer the event's benediction.
Franklin, a living legend with 21 Grammies, performed for President Bill Clinton in 1993, but this would be her first Inauguration. During a Labor Day weekend rally in Detroit, Obama sang a bit of Franklin's "Chain of Fools" to her.
Alexander, a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist and Yale University professor, centers her poems and essays on race relations and social movements.
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