Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, and James Taylor were just some of the over 600 musicians who braved chilly temperatures to perform at Barack Obama’s 2013 inauguration.
The morning kicked off with the 160-member “President’s Own” Marine Band. Later in the ceremony, the band performed “Hail to the Chief” and “Semper Fidelis” composed by the Marine Band’s legendary 17th Director John Philip Sousa.
The celebration’s youngest performers were the P.S. 22 Choir from Staten Island, New York. Under the direction of Gregg Breinberg, the 65 fifth-graders sang “God Bless the USA”, “Home”, “On Top of the World”, and “One Dream”. Best known for its performance of “Somewhere over the Rainbow” at the 2011 Academy Awards, the choir has also been featured on shows including MTV, Oprah, and Good Morning America. America, The Today Show, MTV, Sesame Street, and, perhaps most notably, at the 2011 Academy Awards, closing the show with a stunning rendition of “Somewhere of Over The Rainbow!”
Another group which performed during the pre-inaugural festivities was the Lee University Festival Choir. The ensemble consists of approximately 200 singers drawn from each of the seven choral ensembles at the private Christian university located in Cleveland, Tennessee. According to Charismanews.com, the choir sang a selection of songs including “Saints Bound for Heaven”, “Hymn for America” “and Chattanooga Choo-Choo”.
After Myrlie Evers-Williams delivered the invocation, Carol Cymbala led the 280-member Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir in the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” The six-time Grammy award-winning group comes from a multicultural church in Brooklyn.
Following Vice President Biden’s oath of office, singer-songwriter James Taylor lent his buttery vocals to “America the Beautiful”. Taylor had performed the song at over 40 separate events during President Obama’s campaign last fall.
Kelly Clarkson and the Marine Band followed President Obama’s inaugural address with a raspy but powerful version of “My Country Tis of Thee”. The performance impressed Sen. Charles Schumer (who was leading the cermonies) so much that after the performance, he said “Wow,” into the microphone.
Beyoncé and the Marine Band closed the inaugural performances a vocally-ornamented version of “The Star-Spangled Banner”. No stranger to inaugural festivities, Beyoncé had previously sung “At Last” at the 2009 Inaugural ball during the Obamas’ first dance as President and First Lady.
You can enjoy the inaugural performances by the P.S. 22 Choi A the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, and Beyoncé below.
- Beyonce Performs At The 2013 Presidential Inauguration (hollywoodlife.com)
- Inauguration 2013: Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, & More Perform. Who Was Best? (hollywood.com)
- Watch Beyonce Sing the National Anthem at Obama’s Inauguration (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Beyoncé, James Taylor perform for Obama, Biden inauguration (cbc.ca)
- Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir Performs ‘Battle Hymn Of The Republic’ At Obama’s Inauguration (mediaite.com)
- Beyonce sings national anthem at inauguration (cbsnews.com)