Washington D.C.–What happens when you put boy band Mindless Behavior on stage in a room of thousands of teeny boppers? You get screaming at an unbearable decibel level and one of the electrifying highlights of the 2013 Kids’ Inaugural Concert.
Nearly 5,000 young people, and some parents, converged on the Walter E. Washington Convention Center Jan. 19 for the show, which honors military families and their sacrifice. Among the featured performers were Usher, Far East Movement, Katy Perry and cast members from the Fox hit television series “Glee.”
First Lady Michelle Obama and first daughters Malia and Sasha sat front and center, sharing the occasion with the audience. Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, the nation’s second lady, who conceived the idea for the event with Michelle Obama in 2009, also attended.
“My favorite part of this entire weekend is being right here with all of you. For me this is what inauguration is all about,” Michelle Obama said before introducing pop star Katy Perry.
Amber P. Riley of “Glee” performed a pitch-perfect rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and the Soul Children of Chicago drew thunderous applause when they joined Black Violin’s Kev and Wil B in a rendition of the Beatles hit “Come Together.”
The show was hosted by Nick Cannon, emcee of “American’s Got Talent.” Besides the live performances, the show also featured video messages from “Scandal” actress Kerry Washington and several Disney sitcom stars.
The concert is an extension of Michelle Obama and Jill Biden’s “Joining Forces” initiative that supports military families with educational and employment advancement. In 2009, the show drew 14,000 people to the Verizon Center and featured performances by Bow Wow, Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers.
“I really enjoyed all the performances and seeing Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden,” said Juliane Banks of San Francisco. Banks’ 12-year-old daughter, Jalyn Caldwell, said Mindless Behavior was her favorite act of the program.
Young D.C. resident Marcus McMillan, 7, voted “Usher and the girl who’s on stage right now,” referring to Katy Perry, as hits with him.
The concert was among several events held over the inaugural weekend geared to youth. Students at Perrywood Elementary School in Upper Marlboro were treated by the PTA to a kiddie inaugural ball, Jan. 17, which featured live music and dancing. On Jan. 21, young people gathered at the Howard Theater for the H.O.P.E. (Honoring Our President Elect) Inaugural Youth Ball. The ball was designed to “give youth the opportunity to share in the inaugural festivities surrounding the swearing in of President Obama,” according to the website. The family-friendly event required young people under 15 to be accompanied by a parent. Participants feasted on heavy hors d'oeuvres while dancing. Actor Jermaine Crawford, who played homeless teenager “Dukie” Weems on the HBO series is one of the organizers of the event, which was held for the first time in 2009.
At the kiddie ball at Perrywood, young men in bow ties and suits ran around the gymnasium with their buddies while young ladies in sparkly dresses danced with each other in circles.
The gym was decked out with red, white and blue balloons and the students played with Barack Obama face masks. The children feasted on cookies and juice.
“It’s an excellent idea the PTA came up with for the kids to take part in what their parents are celebrating over the weekend,” said Perrywood Principal Carolyn Poole.
At one point, the deejay played the party song “The Wobble,” and the children and their parents took to the dance floor to do the popular line dance.
Lydia Sampson, a 10-year old fifth grader who wore a beautiful red dress, stood next to a Michelle Obama cardboard cut-out. She said she enjoyed the ball because “everybody [was] dancing and celebrating the President’s election again.”
“It would be like the real inaugural ball except for [it’s] us students,” said fifth grader Jaylon Virgil, the student body president. “Getting dressed up is pretty good because I have the chance to express myself and wear some nice clothing.”
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