At White House, music to Michelle Obama's ears
First lady Michelle Obama hosted 120 student musicians, who took master classes from classical artists, filling the White House Wednesday with the strains of cellos and pianos.
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Mrs. Obama looked fabulous in a light gray flecked skirt suit, with a darker gray blouse, large brooch, and silver belt. Hair was in an up-do.Skip to next paragraph
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FLOTUS spoke of “the power of the arts to change young people’s lives” and as each award was handed out, she posed with representatives from the groups – dispensing many hugs, especially to the kids.
After it was over, she declared. “Well, let’s do that again!”
Then, it was back to the East Room for the Classical Music Student Workshop Concert. Mrs. Obama spoke, and referred to the assembled students as the “classical music superstars of tomorrow.”
“I love events like this because this is what the White House is all about," she said. "It's the People's House. We say that all of the time. It's a place that's steeped in history. You can look on – the pictures on the walls, and there are so many stories that can be told. But also it's a place where we like to start new traditions and to bring people together in different ways."
Mrs. Obama also noted the hard work and dedication it takes to master a musical instrument. To the students, she said: “Many of you are perfectionists, and it takes a lot of energy and time, and it’s not always easy.”
Each of the world-class musicians performed, as did a few of the students. Perhaps most eye-popping was 8-year-old prodigy Sujari Britt of New York, who performed on the cello alongside Alisa Weilerstein. Mrs. Obama commented that Sujari is the same age as Sasha – and from a distance, she looked like Sasha Obama.
Later, I asked Sujari how much she practices each day, and she said three or four hours. Her mother said, “actually, more than that.” Because she is home-schooled, she can easily pick up her cello throughout the day and play. Sujari also mentioned the string trio she plays in with sister and brother, which, she says, practices every other day. Sujari studies at the Manhattan School of Music.
White House social secretary Desiree Rogers sat next to Mrs. Obama during the concert. Also sighted in the East Room (and in the master classes) was actor-turned-administration-official Kal Penn, who helped pull Wednesday’s music program together.
The program, which culminates in a concert this evening, was the fourth in a series started by Michelle Obama called The White House Music Series. Previous musical forms featured were jazz, country, and Latin.
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