Presidential Inaugural Home States Ball
The Don Cagen Orchestra performed at the official “Presidential Inaugural Obama Home States Ball”, held at the Washington Convention Center on January 20, 2009. President Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle, and Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill were in attendance, along with 6,500 guests.
The Don Cagen Orchestra was among an incredible array of talent booked for the official balls, including Stevie Wonder, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, Shakira, Sheryl Crow, Marc Anthony, James Taylor, Jack Johnson and Common. Cagen remarks “I am so proud of our singers and musicians. We were chosen to share the world stage with international superstars.”
The orchestra performed while the guests waited for the President and Vice President to arrive, with an additional 3 sets during the evening. The dance floor was filled with people dancing and cheering throughout the historic night.
Songs performed at the ball included, “At Last” by Etta James, “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke, “Signed, Sealed and Delivered” by Stevie Wonder, the Beatles “Michelle” in honor of the new First Lady, “Don’t Stop Believin” by Journey, and dance hits by Beyonce, Usher and the Black-Eyed Peas. While of course this was a special night, vocalist Becky Cagen remarks “We did what we have been honored to do at every party and wedding for the past 25 years – motivate the crowd with great music and pack the dance floor.”
Media coverage has been remarkable. In the days prior to leaving for Washington, the orchestra played live on WGN-TV and NBC5 Chicago, and had taped segments on CBS2 Chicago, NBC5 Chicago, Fox Chicago, and Fox National. CBS2 Chicago sent a crew to Washington to broadcast the sound-check the night before the ball. There were glimpses of the band on every national network the evening of the ball.
Print media includes the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Post, New York Times, USA Today, Philadelphia Daily News, Washington Times, Billboard, Boston Globe, Toronto Star, Pioneer Press, Associated Press, Variety, Access Hollywood, Hip-Hop Caucus, Jazz News, MTV.com, and VH-1.com.
After the official announcement of the ball entertainment hit the internet, vocalist Becky Cagen was sent gowns by several designers to wear on stage at the ball. Becky chose a gown by Ines Di Santo, and Cartier offered her jewelry.
An additional thrill was in store the evening of the ball. Becky remarks, “In between sets Don and I were taken back stage to meet President Obama and the First Lady. This is a moment I’ll never forget. We discussed the ball, fashion, our labradoodle, Ella, and bringing live music to the White House”.
Don Cagen states, “We are thrilled and honored to have performed for the President of the United States. In so many ways this was a once in a lifetime experience, and words cannot express the excitement and gratitude we feel to be chosen for this historic event.”
Photo Credits: Jennifer Mordini, jennifermordini.com
Photo of the President and First Lady with Don & Becky Cagen: Khalil Thompson.