Recording artist Beyoncé will perform at the upcoming inauguration.
Planning for the 57th presidential inauguration has taken place largely behind closed doors in the previous months as contracts are signed, logistics are debated and security parameters are put into place. But as President Barack Obama’s Jan. 21 Capitol swearing-in ceremony draws near, the two main coordinating committees working to execute the big event are rolling out the details everyone’s been waiting for: Who’s going to sing, and what’s Obama going to eat?
The Presidential Inaugural Committee, which is responsible for the programming portion of the inaugural ceremony, announced Wednesday that mainstream music superstars Beyoncé, James Taylor and Kelly Clarkson will be performing the national anthem, “My Country Tis of Thee” and “America the Beautiful,” respectively.
It is not the first time Beyoncé has performed for or participated in Obama-related events. At a 2009 inaugural ball, she sang the Etta James classic “At Last” during the first couple’s first dance, and late last year, she and her husband, musician Jay-Z, hosted a fundraiser.
Taylor is not a stranger either: In 2011, Obama awarded him the National Medal of Arts at the White House.
The PIC also announced Wednesday that Richard Blanco will serve as the ceremony’s inaugural poet.
There have only been four inaugural poets before him: Robert Frost in 1961, Maya Angelou in 1993, Miller Williams in 1997 and Elizabeth Alexander in 2009. Still, Blanco will have the distinction of being the youngest inaugural poet to read at the ceremony, as well as the first Latino and the first gay man to serve in the role.
And then there’s the traditional luncheon that follows the swearing-in ceremony, where about 200 guests made up of Supreme Court justices, Cabinet members and congressional leadership will break bread in Statuary Hall with Obama, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and their families.
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, which is responsible for coordinating the logistics for inaugural events taking place on Capitol grounds, orchestrates the luncheon. This year, the creative choices also reflect the theme of “Faith in America’s Future,” conceived of by JCCIC Chairman Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., in recognition of the sesquicentennial anniversary of the Statue of Freedom’s installation atop the Capitol Dome.
The floral centerpiece will be a rose called the “Free Spirit,” and the flags flown over the Capitol during the swearing-in ceremony will be displayed on an iron table made for President Abraham Lincoln on the occasion of his second inauguration. The table was constructed from the same materials used for many of the decorative elements on the Capitol Dome.
From left, Lisa Peng, daughter of Peng Ming, Grace Ge Geng, daughter of Gao Zhisheng, and Ti-Anna Wang, daughter of Wang Bingzhang, hold pictures of their imprisoned fathers during a House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building titled “Their Daughters Appeal to Beijing: ‘Let Our Fathers Go!’”
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.