An inspirational ceremony emphasizing Houston’s diversity and bright future will kick off a day of events marking the inauguration of Mayor-elect Annise Parker, City Controller-elect Ronald Green and Houston City Council. The day will end with a free evening concert and fireworks for the public at Discovery Green. “I opted for a free concert over an invitation only gala because I want all of Houston to be able to participate in the celebration,” said Mayor-elect Parker. “I invite families to bring blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets and join me under the stars in downtown Houston for an event that will have everyone on their feet dancing. It’s the perfect way to mark the start of a new decade and a new city government that I pledge will be inclusive and transparent.”
The incoming elected officials will take the oath of office in ceremonies to be held at the Wortham Theater Center in downtown Houston beginning at 9:30 a.m. Monday, January 4, 2010. The inauguration is open to the public. The doors at the Wortham will open at 8 a.m. Seating in the main theater will be available on a first come first served basis. Additional seating is being provided in the smaller Cullen Theater, which will be equipped with a video feed of the ceremonies.
The inaugural program will feature former Channel 11 News Anchor Lisa Foronda as mistress of ceremonies, 2009 America’s Got Talent first runner up Barbara Padilla, Lakewood Church Pastor Joel Osteen, St. John’s United Methodist Church Pastor Rudy Rasmus, poet Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and children from the Chinese Community Center. Music will be provided by the 200-member Inauguration Orchestra and Choir, comprised of many of Houston’s top musicians. U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore will administer the oath of office to Mayor-elect Parker and City Controller-elect Ronald Green. As her first official act as Mayor, Parker will swear in the 14 members of Houston City Council.
The free concert, scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. January 4, at Discovery Green will begin with Latin favorite Mango Punch and end with chart-topper Jennifer Holliday from the original Broadway version of Dream Girls. In the middle will be an over-the- top soul revue featuring:
- Archie Bell, whose #1 hit Tighten Up got the whole country “dancing just as good as they could walk” back in 1968.
- Roy Head, Texas legend of blue-eyed soul, who took Treat Her Right, recorded in the shadow of downtown, to #2 on the pop charts.
- Yvonne Washington, a soulful songstress who has been a part of generations of celebrations across the city.
The concert is being funded privately through donations raised by the 2010 Inaugural Committee. Food and beverage is available for purchase at Discovery Green. In the event of severe weather, the concert will take place in the George R. Brown Convention Center.