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21 January 2021, 09:33 | Updated: 21 January 2021, 10:26
Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and beloved cellist Yo-Yo Ma headed up the music at Joe Biden’s inauguration and the evening’s ‘Celebrating America’ concert. Here are all the musical highlights from the day...
On Wednesday 20 January, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn as US President and Vice President in a ceremony outside the nation's Capitol in Washington DC.
Presidential inaugurations are always grand celebrations, full of stars and stripes and pomp. And from the National Anthem to musical interludes, music has a central role in the ceremonies.
Here's a look at all the performance highlights from 2021.
Lady Gaga tweeted it would be her “honour” to sing the US National Anthem on 20 January.
Singing our National Anthem for the American People is my honor. I will sing during a ceremony, a transition, a moment of change—between POTUS 45 and 46. For me, this has great meaning.— Lady Gaga (@ladygaga) January 20, 2021
The 'Bad Romance' singer has given memorable Star-Spangled serenades in the past, including at 2016's NFL Super Bowl.
On Inauguration Day her performance, accompanied by the United States Marine Band, was powerful with perfectly placed ornamentation. Just listen:
The Presidential Inaugural Committee also announced that fellow pop star Jennifer Lopez would be singing at the event. Country music singer Garth Brooks also performed as part of the swearing-in ceremony.
Lopez sang a powerful 'This Land is Your Land' shortly after Lady Gaga sang the National Anthem.
There's a long history of classical music at presidential inaugurations. Operatic mezzos Marilyn Horne and Susan Graham have sung at Bill Clinton and George W Bush events respectively. But, perhaps most infamous was the superstar quartet that played at Barack Obama's 2009 Inauguration – as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, violinist Itzhak Perlman, pianist Gabriela Montero and clarinettist Anthony McGill premiered a new John Williams work.
And this year, the beloved cellist was back to soundtrack a moment of coming-together with his take on the traditional hymn 'Amazing Grace'.
Yo-Yo Ma dedicated his performance at the Celebrating America concert to the resilience of the people, saying: "This is for all of you who found new ways for us to smile together."
The United States Marine Band performed specially-created transcription of Adolphus Hailstork's Fanfare On Amazing Grace, marking the second time ever that music by a living Black composer has featured in the pre-ceremony music.
Hailstork is one of America's most prominent composers and educators, and like the Vice President-elect, is an alumnus of Howard University. The Showtime Marching Band was on duty to escort Kamala Harris on the day.
Irish virtuoso Patricia Treacy, one of the country's leading violinists, also lent her artistry to the inauguration – but in a private church service for the Bidens, before the main ceremony.
She played Patrick Cassidy's 'Proclamation' on her historic Stradivarius at Old St. Patrick’s Church, Chicago.
The Irish connection at today’s #Inauguration mass 🇮🇪🇺🇸— U.S. Embassy Dublin (@USEmbassyDublin) January 20, 2021
🎻 Violinist Patricia Treacy will perform ‘Proclamation’, composed by Patrick Cassidy.
Watch her breathtaking performance at old St. Patrick’s Church, Chicago. pic.twitter.com/Hm9kI7qUaE
Beyond music-making at the inauguration, firefighter Andrea Hall led the Pledge of Allegiance and Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate recited a moving poem. Father Leo O'Donovan and Reverend Dr. Silvester Beaman, both longtime friends of the Biden family, led prayers on the day.
Celebrating America, at which cellist Yo-Yo Ma played (above), was a primetime special heralding the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
The celebrity-filled show was hosted by Tom Hanks and aired live on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC from 8.30pm to 10pm ET, with plenty of music to enjoy.
The Broadway and West End hit Hamilton: An American Musical has been one of the most talked-about creations of the last 10 years. And it seems fitting that the famous fusion of music and politics had a nod on this historic day. On Sunday, the Presidential Inaugural Committee announced that composer, lyricist and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda who created Hamilton will have a role “reciting a classic work” during the celebrations.
Lin-Manuel joined the likes of Jon Bon Jovi, Ant Clemons, the Foo Fighters, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Bruce Springsteen and Justin Timberlake, who all performed for the show from iconic locations across the country.