WASHINGTON (AP) – The new president called out “Great job, Jackie!” after 16-year-old Jackie Evancho delivered a soft-voiced rendition of the national anthem at Friday’s swearing-in ceremony.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sang “America the Beautiful,” and the Missouri State University Chorale sang “Now We Belong,” in a ceremony that featured decidedly less star power than in 2013. At President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, Beyonce sang the anthem, James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang a powerful “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee.”
The various inauguration performances have exposed the obvious divisions in the country following the election of Donald Trump, who is deeply unpopular in Hollywood. A number of artists declined the opportunity to perform, and Broadway singer Jennifer Holliday even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her scheduled appearance.
For those seeking star power, there was the unofficial, alternate programming around town, such as Thursday’s Peace Ball or Saturday’s planned performances at the Women’s March on Washington.
At the Peace Ball, the main attraction, Solange Knowles, didn’t hit the stage until close to midnight, but the 3,000 or so enthusiastic guests packed into the National Museum of African American History and Culture weren’t going anywhere.
The evening, organized by progressive activist Andy Shallal, also featured jazz singer Esperanza Spalding and a dance party. Guests included actors Danny Glover, Fran Drescher and Ellen Page. Angela Davis and Alice Walker were also in attendance.
Glover addressed the fact that although the event was described as a nonpartisan celebration of successes in recent years in areas such as health care, climate change and marriage equality, the room was filled with people unhappy with the results of the election.
“We can’t just sit and lick our wounds,” Glover said. “Our work is cut out for us. We have to make some hard choices.”