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Biden Administration Begins Preparations for Inauguration

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Several high-powered celebrities will be featured in Wednesday’s inauguration proceedings for the nation’s first president with deep First State ties, Joe Biden. Some everyday Delaware residents will be in the spotlight as well.

“As a nation, we are strengthened by our respect for one another,” said Tony Allen, the president of Delaware State University. Allen also serves as the CEO of President-elect Joe Biden’s Presidential Inaugural Committee. “By lifting up voices from all walks of life, in every corner of our country, we want the first moments of the Biden-Harris administration to be a celebration of an inclusive, resilient, united America.”

Drumlines from the University of Delaware and Howard University, the alma maters of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, respectively, will participate in the PIC’s “Parade Across America.” This can be live-streamed at https://BidenInaugural.org/watch at 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday.

The two bands will escort the nation’s new leaders from 15th Street to the White House to kick off the event.

“Members of the UD marching band have experienced many emotions since we received our invitation to be part of the presidential escort. It’s not just an honor; it’s also quite humbling,” UD’s Marching Band Director Heidi I. Sarver said in a prepared statement. “Being able to participate in this American tradition firsthand is incredibly meaningful for our students. This particular inauguration is very personal to our Blue Hens as we celebrate our alum, President-elect Joe Biden, as the new leader of the free world.”

Inauguration Preparations Started in Early January

UD received notification of its selection by the PIC in early January and quickly began preparations for the inaugural festivities.

The UD band is no stranger to performing for the president-elect. They have had the opportunity to do so on several occasions, including the 2009 inauguration, a welcome home ceremony at the conclusion of Mr. Biden’s second term as vice president and at the “Biden is Back” pep rally at UD in April 2017.

The drumline will perform two selections: “Blue Hen Cadence” composed by Ancona, and a piece composed by the band’s former graduate assistant, Eric Carr, an active corporal and tenor drum player in the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps.

UD President Dennis Assanis called it a tremendous honor for the UD Marching Band to be part of the inaugural events Wednesday.

“We are excited to share our UD pride with the world, and we will all be cheering on our students as they help celebrate this amazing milestone for a fellow Blue Hen,” he said.

Brooks to Perform at Inauguration

On Monday, members of the PIC announced that country star Garth Brooks would perform as part of the inauguration ceremony. It will begin at noon and all major networks will carry it live. People can also watch this via live-stream at https://BidenInaaugural.org/watch.

“I may be the only Republican at this place, but we need to be reaching out, loving each other,” the Oklahoma native said. “I want the divided times to be behind us.”

Mr. Brooks sees the performance as an opportunity to promote a sense of togetherness.

“This is not a political statement,” he said. “This is a statement of unity.”

Jill Biden Asked Brooks to Perform

Mr. Brooks said Dr. Jill Biden, the president-elect’s wife, called to ask him to play at the ceremony.

He accepted Sunday night, he said, because he views performances like these as his way of serving the nation.

“This is kind of how I get to serve the country,” he said. “Our father served as a United States Marine. I have brothers that served in the Air Force and in the Army. This is my chance to get to serve,” Brooks then added.

Like the Blue Hens, this will not be Mr. Brooks’ first time playing at an inauguration ceremony. In 2008, he helped welcome former President Barack Obama to Washington.

“I was lucky enough to be asked to play the 2016 inauguration as well,” he also said. “I couldn’t fulfill that one because we already had dates in Cincinnati.”

It also won’t be Mr. Brooks’ first time playing for a president.

“I’ve played for every president there is since (Jimmy) Carter, with the exception of (Ronald) Reagan, so I’ve gotten to sit and have an audience with these people, including President Trump,” he said.

Mr. Brooks is not yet sure what he will play for the inauguration crowd. However, he said his song choices will definitely exude a sense of patriotism.

‘Celebrating America’

Even more people of note will participate in the PIC’s Wednesday night “Celebrating America” prime-time special. It will begin at 8:30 p.m. and be carried live by ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC, and PBS. People can also watch the event live-streamed at https://BidenInaugural.org/watch.

Tom Hanks will host the program, and it will feature comments from President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris. It will also have appearances from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and John Legend.

The show also will include appearances by essential workers and Americans who have aided others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Inaugural balls

PIC has also put together three events to celebrate the nation’s diversity. People can watch the event streamed at bideninaugural.org/watch or on the PIC’s Facebook or Twitter pages.

The first of the three events, the “AAPI Inaugural Ball: Breaking Barriers,” will be from 7 to 8 p.m. today.

“The PIC will join an inaugural ball celebrating the Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities and the multitude of contributions they make to our nation,” a press release from the PIC said.

“The event will feature remarks from AAPI organizers, political leaders, celebrities and musical, comedy and cultural performances,” it then said.

Some confirmed participants include Neera Tanden, the director-designate of the Office of Management and Budget. Former Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan and comedians Kal Penn and John Cho will also participate.

The next event, “We Are One,” will go from 8 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“The PIC will host an evening celebration to honor and celebrate all within the Black community and African Diaspora, featuring powerful speakers, inspiring stories, and entertaining performances,” the press release said.

Entertainment reporter Terrence J will host this event. Additionally, it will feature appearances from Stacey Abrams and Sen.-elect Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., as well as a marching band competition with Florida A&M University, South Carolina State University, and Tennessee State University.

The final event of the night, “Latino Inaugural 2021: Inheritance, Resilience, and Promise,” will happen from 9:30 to 10:30 p.m. Additionally, actress Eva Longoria will host the event. It will also feature appearances from Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of “Hamilton,” as well as actor John Leguizamo.

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Source: Delaware State News

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