PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BARACK OBAMA
Maitland, Florida, May 21st 2008
After weeks of anticipation, my wife Jen and I arrived at the Sheridan in Maitland for a 'private' reception (400-500 people) for Mr. Obama around 6pm. What a scene! Newsmen from all the local stations and major networks were there. There were t-shirt & button hawkers, and folks handing out pamphlets for their causes. And of course Barack Obama supporters of all kinds from all over the state of Florida.
First we had to sign in and get in line to be searched before entering the conference room. No prob, the mood was electric! People chatting, some drinking, and much swapping of Obama paraphernalia .
The line in front of, and behind us to enter the conference room:
We ran into our ol' friend Pam (seen here in front of the stage) -who coincidentally works for our friend Arna (who was largely responsible for arranging the event). We had not seen Pam since our coffeehouse closed six years ago.
Then as we were watching them set up the stage wondering who was going to perform, I saw a gent reaching for a guitar and asked Jennifer if it was Larry. "Larry who" she asked...Larry Hoppen from the band Orleans. "I don't know". So I shouted LARRY! He turned around and I shouted ""Java" John here"...he came right over. What a nice surprise (I'd written about Larry a few month back in this blog).
Larry said he was there with Beth Schafer and that they were going to do a set to warm up the crowd. He also said they were going to feature a song called "Build that Bridge", a song they recorded together (it's the title track from her recent CD). They are offering this wonderful song to the Obama campaign. They performed that song, a few Orleans tunes like "Still The One" and "Dance With Me"and some classic rock hits much to the delight of the unsuspecting crowd.
Thanks to Beth, here is an MP3 of "Build That Bridge" and "Unsung" a song that uses a reprise of the "Build That Bridge" chorus...both are truly beautiful songs. I hope Obama uses the tune!
Beth, the band, Larry and Senator Barack Obama.
When the Senator took to the stage the place went nuts! A solid three minutes of applause easily. Barack was clearly embarrassed and amused by the adulation, but he managed to calm the crowd, pointing of specifically to one elder woman who was near hysterics with delight!
Obama then shared thanks for folks involved, and delivered a brief but eloquent speech. The man knows how to work a crowd, and is a master at public speaking -unlike some current politicians we know. (there are a few Youtube clips from the event below).
these photos by "Java" John
For a few days prior to the event I worked on designing a poster commemorating the event (below) in hopes of getting Barack to autograph it for me. Well, with many, many thanks to Arna for getting it to him, our next President indeed signed it for me.
And the report is that he truly loved it and was grateful for the copy I gave to him.
THANK YOU, Sir.
Orlando Mayor got a hold of one of the few copies I brought, and reportedly loved it as well. Enjoy Gents.
Possibly the two women most excited to be there Wednesday night, and the two who made it a real treat for me: Arna and my beautiful wife Jennifer. Thank you both!
Obama arriving in Maitland Florida 9pm :
Speaking in Maitland:
Obama in Tampa 3 hours earlier:
Beth Schafer's Obama/Unsung Video
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