An Invitation to Celebrate Nebraska

By Governor Dave Heineman

Sally and I recently announced our preliminary plans for the 2011 Inauguration. I want to extend a personal invitation to all Nebraskans to be part of our Inaugural celebrations.

For this inauguration, we are creating the opportunity for more Nebraskans to take part in the celebration by holding four Inaugural events in Scottsbluff-Gering, Grand Island, Lincoln, and Omaha in early January.

The 2011 Inaugural Gala Celebration presents an opportunity to commemorate the special relationship we share as Nebraskans. The theme “Celebrate Nebraska” pays homage to the exceptional and distinctive qualities found throughout our state.

Expanding the Inaugural festivities provides an opportunity to capture the spirit of Nebraska from border to border. The celebration begins with an Inaugural Gala Breakfast on the morning of Friday, Jan. 7, at the Gering Civic Center starting at 7:30 a.m. MT, followed by an Inaugural Gala Luncheon at the Heartland Event Center in Grand Island at 11:30 a.m. CT.

Inaugural Gala Dinners will be held in Lincoln on Friday and in Omaha on Saturday. The Lincoln dinner will begin with a reception at the Nebraska Club from 5 p.m. to 7p.m. with dinner beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the Cornhusker Marriott. The Omaha dinner will be at the Qwest Center with the inaugural program beginning at 7 p.m. CT. In another first, both of the evening events will be black-tie optional.

Regardless of which event participants chose to attend, some aspects of the Inaugural program will remain constant. The Nebraska National Guard is involved in coordinating the Inaugural events and with an Army Color Guard presenting the colors at each location. We will be recognizing elected and appointed state officials during each event.

However, each event will feature unique performances from a number of talented individuals and music groups from across the state. Arrangements are still being confirmed but I’d like to share the details on some of the performers who have accepted invitations to be part of the festivities.

The Inaugural Breakfast in Scottsbluff-Gering will feature Darla Heggem of Scottsbluff singing the National Anthem and the Rev. Lauren Eckdahl of Gering delivering an invocation. The morning will include performances by the Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) Collegiate Chorale, the Scottsbluff High School Choralaires, and the Gering High School Harmony. Emceeing the program will be Kevin Mooney, News Director for local radio station KNEB.

The Inaugural Luncheon in Grand Island will feature the Grand Island Central Catholic Blue Rhapsody Singers performing the National Anthem, along with performances by the Hastings College VoiceWorks and other central Nebraska music groups. The event will be emceed by Ken Rahjes, News Director for local radio station KRVN.

The Lincoln Inaugural Dinner will feature performances by the 43rd Army Band Brass Quintet and the Lincoln Boys Cantare Choir. The event will be emceed by Coby Mach, radio personality for local radio station KLIN.

The Omaha Inaugural Dinner will feature performances by the 43rd Army Band, the WNCC Collegiate Chorale, the Norfolk Royal Pride, and the Fremont Chamber Choir. Father Don Hock of Omaha will give the invocation and the event will be emceed by Jim Rose, radio personality for local radio station KFAB.

Tickets for Inaugural Gala events are still available and can be purchased online at

Sally and I, along with Lt. Governor Rick and Connie Sheehy, look forward to greeting Nebraskans as we begin this second term of service. It will be an opportunity to express our gratitude for the support and the friendship we have received from the people of this great state.

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