>>Matt Stevens, The New York Times
Published: 2021-01-15 01:17:10 BdST
In a news release, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said that Lady Gaga would sing the national anthem at the swearing-in ceremony Jan. 20 and that Lopez would offer a “musical performance” of some kind.
Amanda Gorman, who in 2017 became the first National Youth Poet Laureate in the United States, will read poetry; a firefighter will lead the Pledge of Allegiance; and a priest and a pastor who are close friends of Biden will lead the invocation and benediction.
“They represent one clear picture of the grand diversity of our great nation and will help honor and celebrate the time-honored traditions of the presidential inauguration as President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris take the oath of office on the West Front of the US Capitol,” Tony Allen, head of the Presidential Inaugural Committee, said in a statement.
The performance announcements add new detail to the emerging portrait of Biden’s reimagined inauguration — one that will be taking place amid heightened health and safety concerns as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage and Washington grapples with the fallout of last week’s riot at the Capitol.
On Wednesday, Biden’s inaugural committee announced that it would hold a prime-time television event to close out the festivities and that the event featuring Timberlake and Bon Jovi would be hosted by actor Tom Hanks.
Art and music have long been leveraged by incoming presidents to help capture the mood of the moment, provide symbolism and help advance the broad themes the new administration is focused on. In Biden’s case, that theme is “America United” in a time of sharp partisanship and division — an inaugural theme that echoes a through line of Biden’s campaign, during which he repeatedly pledged to “restore the soul” of the nation.
And although many aspects of the swearing-in ceremony will recall past inaugurations, the proceedings will generally be smaller and socially distanced, and some events will take place virtually. Officials have indicated that there will be a televised “virtual parade across America” and a public art installation on the National Mall. With the virus raging, there have been no mentions of indoor, in-person inaugural balls or galas.
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