Sunday, December 11, 2011

First Family Films "Christmas In Washington"

Star-studded cast for benefit for Children's National Medical Center includes Jennifer Hudson, Cee Lo Green, Conan O'Brien and Justin Bieber...
The First Family joined a star-studded cast on Sunday evening for the 30th anniversary filming of "Christmas in Washington," a benefit concert for the Children's National Medical Center. Held at the National Building Museum, the special will air on TNT on Dec. 16, and was emceed by Conan O'Brien. The concert performances by President Obama's "pal" Justin Bieber, Jennifer Hudson, Cee Lo Green, Victoria Justice and The Band Perry. There were special little elves on hand, too, as well as three different choirs. President Obama hailed the holidays as a "season of miracles," and a time to remember the lessons of Jesus Christ. (Above: As they sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," on the President's right are Hudson, Justice, and Bieber; O'Brien is to the left of the First Lady)

First Lady Obama was clad in a bright green dress tea-length dress with criss-cross straps and gold heels. Her daughter were in equally festive garb: Malia wore a bright yellow dress with bell sleeves and a long gold necklace of multiple chains. Sasha was channeling the Sugar Plum Fairy in a ballet-inspired pale purple satin dress with a tutu skirt. President Obama opted for a dark suit. First Grandmother Marian Robinson also attended. (Above: The First Family greets the elves)

Mrs. Obama will visit young patients at the Children's National Medical Center on Monday. Before the performances, the First Family visited with five special elves, dressed in bright red tops, hats and shoes. All are patients at the hospital. They rushed to surround the President and Mrs. Obama as he said “We’ve got elves! Release the elves!”

“You took me around the hospital,” Mrs. Obama said to one elf. “Hi, Barack Obama!” another elf said.

After small talk, the Obamas had the kids turn to face the cameras. The President told them to say “cheese.” Then Mrs. Obama suggested that everyone say “Merry Christmas” to bring out the smiles.

The President and the elves lifted a gift basked of children’s books that the First Couple donated to the Children's National Medical Center, to place on a raised platform under the tree with other gifts.

“Nice job, elves,” the President said, as he doled out high-fives.

O'Brien cracked gently about the First Family as he hosted. At Christmas, he said, thoughts turn to a miracle child, worshipped by millions around the world.

"I'm speaking of course, of Justin Bieber," he said.

He added that it's not easy to be a child at the White House these days:

"Santa's probably not going to stop at a house that leaves out a cup of organic soy milk and a plate of celery cookies."

Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden also attended, but were not onstage during the performances. The First Family sang "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!" and "Joy to The World" with the cast.

The President's remarks...
President Obama made brief remarks, hailing the holidays as “the season to celebrate miracles" and remember the lessons of Jesus Christ.

"Every year we celebrate his birth because the story of Jesus Christ changed the world. For me and for millions of Americans, the story has filled our hearts and inspired our lives. It moves us to love one another, to help and serve those less fortunate, to forgive, to draw close to our families, to be grateful for all that has been given to us," President Obama said.

"To keep faith, and to hold on to an enduring hope in humanity. Service to others; compassion to all; treating others as we wish ourselves to be treated -- those values aren’t just at the center of Christianity. Those are values that are shared by all faiths. So tonight let us all rededicate ourselves to each other, and in that spirit, from my family to yours: Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.”

The holiday special has been on TNT since 1999, according to the network.

The program was filmed in the massive concert hall at the museum, which was decorated for Christmas with garlands of greenery and red bows, and a stage featuring a Christmas tree surrounded by presents and potted poinsettia plants. (Above: Along view of the stage)

The United States Naval Academy Glee Club, Washington Youth Choir, and American Family Choir all performed too.

Done with filming, the First Family was rolling for the White House in the motorcade at 7:45 PM.

*Photos by AP/pool