From: Jordan Fabian [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2015 08:45 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N.
Subject: Fwd: In-town pool report #4
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: Jordan Fabian
Date: April 14, 2015 at 8:33:48 PM EDT
To: "Barnes, Desiree N."
Subject: In-town pool report #4
Pool was escorted into the East Room at 7:29 p.m. for the In Performance at the White House event honoring gospel music.
The event had not yet begun. It was a packed house; four rows of chairs surrounded a two-tiered stage at the front of the room. On stage was the Morgan State University Choir (donning blue robes with gold trim), two guitarists, a drummer, and piano player.
The pool was positioned in the back of the East Room.
Your pooler spotted a bowtie-wearing Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) sitting in the front row to the left of the stage. National Security Susan Rice was seated in the third row, center. ABC’s Robin Roberts, the event’s MC, was seen walking to her seat.
The executive producer of the event, whose name your pooler did not catch, gave a five-minute introduction, which was briefly delayed because of a teleprompter snafu. He thanked Jeremy Bernard, the outgoing White House social secretary for organizing this and other “In Performance” events.
POTUS and FLOTUS entered the room at 7:41 p.m. to a standing ovation.
President Obama took the stage and sung “wellllll,” which got a hearty laugh from the audience.
“I hope everybody’s in the spirit tonight,” Obama said, “Church. At the White House.”
Obama noted that musical genres honored at past In Performance events, such as blues, jazz, Motown, and country, all were influenced by gospel.
He thanked all the performers, which include Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, and Darlene Love. He also thanked Robin Roberts “who we love.”
“You’re having a pretty good night when T Bone Burnett and the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin, show up at your house to jam,” Obama said.
“We’ve got royalty here tonight. It’s a state visit tonight,” Obama joked.
The president gave a history of gospel music, starting from its roots in spirituals sung by slaves.
“Even though they were often forbidden to read and write, and even speak freely, slaves were permitted to sing,” the president said. “Songs are where their dreams took flight.”
He described how those songs over time combined with hymns and sacred songs “to become the music of the black church.”
Obama noted that gospel eventually became of the music of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
“Gospel music has evolved over time but its heart stays true,” Obama said.
Obama described gospel music as “the songs of hope” and said the genre has transcended racial, religious, and generational lines.
After speaking for about six minutes, Obama introduced the first performers, Pastor Shirley Caesar and the Morgan State University Choir.
He and took his seat front row, center. The president was seated next to the first lady on his left and his attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch, on his right.
The president and first lady were bobbing their heads, swaying, and clapping during the first two musical numbers. The crowd was into it — a handful of folks in the back of the room were standing, clapping, and singing along.
After two songs Caesar and the choir finished to a standing ovation from the audience, including POTUS and FLOTUS.
The pool was escorted out of the room at 7:48 p.m.
Jordan Fabian | White House Correspondent | The Hill | 1625 K Street, NW Washington, DC 20006 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Desk: (202) xxx-xxx-xxxx | Mobile: (202) xxx-xxx-xxxx | Twitter: @Jordanfabian