George Bush's inauguration next week will have more Utahns singing, dancing, acting and giving speeches in inaugural events than previously expected.
Bush's inaugural committee, with Utahn Steve Stud-dert as its executive director, announced Thursday its final schedule of events - and it shows they will be a Beehive (State) of activity.The committee had already previously announced that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the "Cloggers USA" dancers from Spanish Fork would perform.
But it announced Thursday that other performers with Utah ties will include The Jets, a rock group formed by the Mike and Vake Wolfgramme family from Salt Lake City; Wilford Brimley, the Salt Lake actor who starred in "Cocoon" and the TV series "Our House"; and Peter Vidmar, former gymnastics medalist, who is an LDS Church member and makes many appearances in Utah.
And, of course, most of the images that Americans will see of the inauguration have been carefully planned by Studdert to convey messages about Bush's personality and goals. Utahn Laurie Snow Turner - Sen. Jake Garn's press secretary - has been in charge of press relations and handling the more than 7,000 credentialed journalists who will cover the inaugural.
The busiest of the Utah performers will be the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It is scheduled to perform at the Inaugural Gala (a live network TV program) on Jan. 19; sing prelude songs at the swearing-in ceremony and perform during the inaugural parade on Jan. 20; and sing at "An American Tribute to Democracy" hosted by Vice President-elect Dan Quayle on Jan. 21.
It will also perform its regular "Music and the Spoken Word" program from Washington on Jan. 22.
Cloggers USA will be one of three dancing groups in the inaugural parade, and will also perform at a children's festival on Jan. 21 entitled, "George-to-George - 200 Years of Presidential Inaugurations."
Brimley will co-host the "George-to-George" festival along with Big Bird, of Sesame Street fame, and will relate tales of roles children played throughout the history of inaugurations and lead them in their own inaugural parade at the end with the families of Bush and Quayle.
Vidmar will speak to 9,000 high school students from around the nation at "Looking Forward: An Inaugural Forum" Jan. 19.
The Jets will be providing music at the Young American Ball the night of the inauguration. Bush and Quayle are expected to drop by as they make the rounds of all inaugural balls. Studdert said this is the first year the Young American Ball has ever sold out, and its 9,000 tickets went the first morning.
At a press conference Thursday, Studdert also defended against some attacks in the press that the inauguration - budgeted to cost about $22 million, and to be paid by private donations and proceeds from ticket sales - is costing too much and may be sending the wrong message in tight economic times.
He said one reason it appears to cost more than past inaugurations is, "We are offering more free events than ever before. In fact, 70 percent of the events are free to the public. But we still have to pay for them. But we wanted to involve all Americans, and I think that sends the right message."