The first lady welcomed 120 students today to hear from country music legends Lyle Lovett, Kris Kristofferson and Darius Rucker, inviting them to participate in the History of Country Music, and not just to “sit back in awe.
“I want you all to realize, as you sit here, that you belong here,” the first lady said. “I want to make sure that the White House lives up to the name ‘the People’s House’ … and I want to be sure that it’s not just a place for senators and diplomats and CEOs who have a chance to come here, but it’s a place for all Americans, especially young people.”
The students, who came from Newport Middle School, as well as Anacostia and Woodrow Wilson high schools, took part in a special daytime event before tonight’s country music concert — all part of the continuing White House concert series.
The first lady also encouraged the students to believe in themselves and their dreams. “If I’m standing here as the first lady of the United States … then you can be here,” Michelle Obama said. “That is really my biggest hope for all of you, is that as you sit here and you listen to these fine gentlemen, that you figure out how you can turn something that you love into one of those real jobs.”
Speaking not only to musical aspirations but to any other field the students might find engaging, the first lady emphasized the hard work it takes to reach one’s goals, and the dedication those goals deserve.
“That’s the one thing you have to get in your mind, that even when you love something, if you’re going to be good at it and get good enough at it, you have to invest in it,” she said.
The Grammy Museum’s Executive Director Robert Santelli also attended the event, presenting a history of country music and describing its evolution and cross-over into pop.
After a discussion of how the three country stars found their own way into music, Santelli invited the students to ask questions of the country stars.
Each musician ended the workshop by singing one of his songs. All three will attend tonight’s concert, “In Performance at the White House.”