- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2009


This is the year of the young president, young daughters, young voters and their young children.

So what better way to celebrate all of the above by inviting the biggest young stars in the Disney arsenal to play a concert on the eve of Barack Obama’s inauguration?

First lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., hosted “The Kids’ Inaugural: We Are the Future” on Monday night at the Verizon Center. The concert, featuring Miley Cyrus (star of “Hannah Montana”), the Jonas Brothers (famous from the Disney movie “Camp Rock”), Demi Lovato (rising star, also of “Camp Rock”) and “High School Musical” star Corbin Bleu, aired later Monday night. On the Disney Channel, of course.

Tickets to the event were free and were primarily made available to military families and local Boys & Girls Clubs.

The new first family members were given a star’s welcome as well.

Mrs. Obama, her mother Marion Robinson, and the Obama children - 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha - took their seats in the front row, along with Mrs. Biden and several Biden grandaughters, while the crowd applauded, screamed and shouted “I love you, Michelle Obama!”

Mrs. Obama, wearing a Disney-bright blue skirt and yellow sweater, received a standing ovation in the middle of the show when she took the stage after being introduced by Mrs. Biden. Meanwhile, Malia took pictures with a small digital camera.

“You kids are the future of this great nation,” said Mrs. Obama. “At this extraordinary time in our history, we wanted you to be able to take part. We also wanted to thank the thousands of military men and women, who for many of you, are your moms and dads. Barack, Malia, Sasha and I are so grateful for the sacrifice military families make to keep us safe.”

Mrs. Obama also reminded the crowd that children can help their country by volunteering, such as visiting elderly people or picking up trash.

“We can all work together to make this nation one filled with hope and prosperity for all,” said Mrs. Obama, who was on her feet and waving and dancing along with the crowd during rapper Bow Wow’s and the Jonas Brothers’ performances.

Miss Cyrus, 16, opened the show singing a ballad from the soon-to-be-released Hannah Montana movie and looking very inaugural ball-ready by wearing a long, strapless red dress and a sophisticated updo.

She later returned to the stage in typical teen garb and a quartet of backup dancers. She danced on over to the Obamas to shake hands and dedicated her song “See You Again” to the Obama daughters, who looked to be much more engaged than at Sunday’s Lincoln Memorial concert.

Miss Cyrus later sang a duet of “Ready, Set, Don’t Go,” with father Billy Ray Cyrus.

Actor Jamie Foxx led the crowd in “America the Beautiful” and gave one of many of the evening’s shoutouts to members of the armed forces.

“Welcome to the best inaugural ever. Are you ready for tomorrow?” Mr. Foxx asked the concertgoers.

Miss Cyrus and other Disney celebrities encouraged audience participation by engaging youngsters in presidential trivia contests to win T-shirts (Teddy Roosevelt has what toy named after him? Correct answer - the Teddy Bear!)

Actress Rosario Dawson, fresh from hosting “Saturday Night Live” and speaking at the Lincoln Memorial over the weekend, quoted former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to the crowd - “Believe in your dreams, kids” - and introduced Miss Lovato, who sang her hits “Get Back” and “La la Land.”

Mr. Bleu, backed by several dozen teen singers from Fort Belvoir, sang “These Are the Moments That Matter,” followed by Queen Latifah bringing military family members on stage for talks with their loved ones via satellite from Iraq.

The Jonas Brothers wrapped up the show to the loudest applause of the night, playing guitars and tambourine as they opened their portion by singing “S.O.S.” and “Love Bug.”

The Obama girls and the Biden granddaughters - all looking visably thrilled - joined the Jonas Brothers and the other stars on stage during the confetti-filled finale.

Rebecca Orloff, 10, and her friend, Darby Triimble, 10, of Northwest, were among the children in the crowd. They donned homemade pink “We love Miley” and “We love the Jonas Brothers” T-shirts.

Rebecca’s brother, Jack Orloff, 13, says Monday’s concert was just one of many great sights he saw the last few days in his hometown of Washington.

“All these people are coming here,” Jack said. “It is amazing to have all these stars here.”

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