Kamala Harris

Oakland Symphony Honors Kamala Harris With Commemorative Inauguration Ball

In this Nov. 7, 2020, file photo, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris smiles while speaking during an election event in Wilmington, Delaware.
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The Oakland Symphony is holding a commemorative virtual inauguration ball to celebrate the election of Oakland native Kamala Harris as vice president of the United States, symphony leaders said.

Oakland Salutes, the title of the free event, will play at 3 p.m. Pacific time Sunday on the Oakland Symphony's YouTube channel. It will be available on YouTube thereafter.

The inauguration of Harris as 49th vice president along with President-elect Joseph Biden, a former vice president, is Wednesday.

"We thought we needed to do something," Oakland Symphony director and conductor Michael Morgan said.

Initially, only Oakland Symphony groups were going to perform but that wasn't grand enough, Morgan said.

So, what resulted is a compilation of performances by the arts community in Oakland along with a few words from Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf.

The compilation includes performances and contributions from the symphony, Oakland Symphony Chorus, Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra, Jazz Mafia, Tammy L. Hall, Tiffany Austin, Oakland Ballet Company's Ashley Thopiah and more people and groups.

"It's basically the symphony bringing together the whole arts community," Morgan said.

The team preparing for the inauguration of Harris and Biden in Washington, D.C. did not say there will not be an inauguration ball, rather it said, "This year's ceremonies and events will reflect President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris' commitment to protecting the health and safety of Americans while demonstrating the strength and resilience of our country."

They added that, "inaugural activities will have a limited footprint" but "will honor and resemble American inaugural traditions."

Michael Colbruno, a Port of Oakland commissioner and close friend of Harris, is the host of the Oakland Symphony event.

"This was really a Michael Morgan idea," Colbruno said.

He said Morgan called him and said that they needed to do something.

He said she loves music. Colbruno has known Harris since she was the district attorney in San Francisco. Harris also worked in the Alameda County District Attorney's Office and she went to school in Berkeley.

Colbruno helped Harris on this campaign and on previous ones.

"I always knew this day would come," he said.

After four years of a leader who is biased, "we have a woman who's an inspiration" to girls and people of color, Colbruno added.

He said he saw a video of a little Indian girl saying she never dreamed she would see a vice president who looked like her.

Colbruno said Harris "embodies that for half of America."

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