Tuesday, January 17, 2012
The Obamas Finally Join Me at One of my Events
President Obama and the First Lady finally caught on to one of my great events last night. I sort of had an idea that they would be attending the Kennedy Center's 10th Annual Let Freedom Ring Celebration when I got there around 2 pm (tickets were given out at 4) and police and security dogs surrounded the place. At Cupa Cupa across the street, they filled the tables. (Must have been break time.) Sure enough, at 5:55 pm, an announcement in the Concert Hall said to please welcome the President of the United States and in they walked. The free performance featuring the truly incomparable Bobby McFerrin and the Let Freedom Ring Celebration Choir with Reverend Nolan Williams, Jr., musical director was amazing--from their opening original spiritual, "Buses Are A-comin'" to the finale, "Down by the Riverside." McFerrin I knew about. (If you ever get a chance to see him, go!) But the choir and Rev. Williams were revelations. They are supported by Georgetown University, which also gave out their Legacy of a Dream award to Clarence B. Jones, who served with Dr. King and has gone on to a legendary career of helping those who need help. Soloist Nova Nelson of St. Martin's Catholic Church nearly ran off with the show with her version of "My Country Tis of Thee." But McFerrin and his audience-involving medeys showed that he is still one of a kind. Prior to Down by the Riverside, Rev. WIlliams said that they had rehearsed it, but given McFerrin's participation, who knows what will happen. Everyone including the President and the First Lady eventually stood and sang. An announcement said to stay seated and let the President leave; once Rev. WIlliams led the choir in another encore, it was easy to stay. Down by the Riverside indeed! And we'll study war no more!