A Night with the President
Last week our TV production partner Don Mischer produced an event for the Democratic National Committee in Los Angeles and invited From the Top to recommend a performer. 10-year-old guitarist Roberto Granados, a LA native, who was featured on our broadcast in Lubbock, TX earlier this year, was available to perform and by all accounts wowed the audience (including President Obama) with his joyful spirit and elegant playing.
His father Erwin reports on their night with the President:
The DNC event in LA was fantastic! We flew down Tuesday afternoon to Burbank. Prior to going to the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Roberto met with Don (Mischer) at a studio in Burbank to determine the piece he would play on Wednesday. It was decided that he would play Gitano de Lucia.
On Wednesday, during rehearsal, I found out that Jennifer Hudson, Earth
Wind & Fire, and Ricky Minor and his band would also be performing that
Around 5:15 PM, we made our way through the elaborate security system,
which was put into place in preparation for the arrival of President Obama.
While waiting in the Green Room backstage, Roberto and I met Earth Wind & Fire and Jennifer Hudson.
At about 6:20 PM the show began with the Ricky Minor Band. Shortly
thereafter, Jennifer Hudson did her piece. Next, they came for Roberto and
me. While waiting in the wings, a DNC representative spoke about the
importance of the “Organizing for America” initiative. Roberto was then
introduced to the audience. I was escorted from backstage to the
International Ballroom where I could see Roberto play.
Roberto introduced himself, thanked the DNC for inviting him to play, and
thanked From the Top for their support. He then went on to tell the
audience that his flamenco guitar teacher Jason McGuire spoke of the
importance of people working out their differences through being in compas (rhythm). That music was important as a means of bringing people together to break down the walls of fear, violence, and hatred so that a better world could be created than the world we live in. He also told the
audience that he was excited about meeting the President, and that his Oma
(grandmother) thought President Obama was wonderful. He dedicated his
piece to all the children and people of the world. The next three minutes
and forty seconds were just amazing. He played beautifully. At the end of
his piece, he stood up, bowed and the audience roared with excitement and
gave him a standing ovation as he walked off stage.
Earth Wind & Fire was then introduced and played a medley of some of their songs. Accompanied by the Crenshaw High School choir, Jennifer Hudson came back and finished up with “Bridge over Troubled Waters.”
President Obama was introduced and spoke briefly about the importance of
“Organizing for America” to move forward in making the much needed changes that Americans are seeking. He thanked Jennifer Hudson, Earth Wind & Fire, and Roberto for their “extraordinary performance” that evening.
Prior to the end of President Obama’s speech, secret service came in the
Green Room and escorted us to another area back stage to meet the
President. The whole area was lined with secret service. I have never
seen so many high-level security personnel in one place at one time. After
his speech, President Obama walked back stage to meet the performers.
First Earth, Wind & Fire greeted the president then Jennifer Hudson.
Roberto then was introduced to the president and he gave Obama a copy of
his CD and hugged him. He told the president again that his Oma thought he was wonderful. The president responded by telling Roberto to thank his
grandmother, and told him to keep working hard in everything he does. I
introduced myself and shook hands with the president. He told me to keep
up the good work. Photos were then taken of the President, Roberto and I.
We went back to the Green Room to pick up Roberto’s guitar and headed back to our room. As we made our way through the International Ballroom where the show took place, Roberto was stopped by many of the people in the audience. They commended him on his outstanding performance and his introductory comments. One woman came up, hugged Roberto, and told him that his performance moved her deeply.
It was an amazing evening. I shall never forget it. Thank you and
everyone else at From the Top for being so supportive of Roberto! From the
Top has made a difference in our lives and we thank you for it. Thanks
All the Best
Erwin & Rebecca Granados