.

Potomac Students Get a Taste of Soul at the White House

Students from two Montgomery County high schools spent time at the White House Thursday with First Lady Michelle Obama, Aretha Franklin and other artists.

First lady Michelle Obama kicks off a student workshop with Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae and Patti LaBelle at the White House Thursday morning. 	Capital News Service photo by Tazeen Asiya Ahmad.
First lady Michelle Obama kicks off a student workshop with Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae and Patti LaBelle at the White House Thursday morning. Capital News Service photo by Tazeen Asiya Ahmad.
By TAZEEN ASIYA AHMAD
Capital News Service

“Sing your butt off, or work your butt off, or whatever you do, do it until your butt comes off,” first lady Michelle Obama told students at a White House “Women of Soul” workshop Thursday morning featuring Patti LaBelle, Melissa Etheridge and Janelle Monae.

Fifteen students from Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, and 27 students from Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring, were among 124 from around the country who participated in the interactive session labeled “I’m Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul.”

“It was very inspiring. Honestly I didn’t know much about soul music and today it really brought what it was to me,” said Eli Promisel, a 10th-grader at Winston Churchill High School. “It was very, very interesting, very cool.”

LaBelle, Etheridge and Monae, who were also scheduled to appear in a concert on Thursday evening accompanied by Aretha Franklin, and high profile artists Jill Scott, Ariana Grande, and Tessanne Chin, shared their experiences and fielded questions from the students on their music and how fame has affected their lives.

“It is a unique opportunity and the kids get a chance to appreciate the influence of art on history,” said Beth Shevitz, a social studies teacher at Sherwood High School.

The workshop, marking Women’s History Month, was organized by The Grammy Museum and is the seventh educational workshop the White House has hosted in collaboration with its “In Performance at the White House” concert series.

Thursday’s concert was to be streamed live at WhiteHouse.gov/live and broadcast April 7 on PBS. 

In her opening remarks, Obama told the students that soul music makes you move no matter who you are or where you are from.

“Sometimes it makes your hips move. Sometimes it makes you rock your head,” Obama said. “Sometimes it helps you just kick back and relax and soak it in. But no matter what form it comes in, you know this music is always from the heart.”

The first lady encouraged students to take advantage of being at the White House and not to be afraid to ask questions of the three artists.

“Stand up and use your voice and ask a question.  Don’t be shy. And learn something. Be open and take in whatever you can, and then use it to be the best you can be,” Obama said.

The program, ending with an impromptu concert with LaBelle belting out “The Lord’s Prayer,” Etheridge singing “Stormy Weather,” and Monae performing “Victory,” had the students bopping and swaying to the music.

“It was amazing. The singers were great,” Promisel said.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »