SHOKOのシカゴ郊外の町から


SHOKO NAGANO

Freelance Editor, Writer & Singer
She had been working as a creative director at one of the leading publish companies in Japan. After quitting the job In 2001, she came to Berkeley, California by herself to study English and communication. In 2004, she started working as a freelance editor and writer in Japan. She came back to Berkeley in 2006, then moved to the suburb of Chicago, Illinois in 2007. Since then, she's been working as a freelance writer and editor and covering Chicago news especially music, education and culture issue to convey the beauty of Windy City.
She loves all kinds of music, especially jazz and blues, and performs jazz (piano and vocal.)
Fourth degree holder of "Kendo" (Japanese martial arts.) SAKE lover.
She publised her own essay book "Tanomo America" (2006)


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            Chicago Divas’ Hot Election Night
          “Chicago Blues Mamas For Obama”

        


November 6, 2012. Unlike the unseasonably warm day four years ago, this election day was chilly and rainy. The bad weather and high expectations for Obama’s re-election (except on FOX News) kept most people at home--that is, except for those of us who ventured out to hear the fabulous Chicago Blues Mamas for Obama.

“Chicago Blues Mamas for Obama” was one of the most enthusiastic supporters of Obama’s presidential campaign. When I heard that this group of 10 Chicago divas and artists would have an “Election Night Special Live” at the Mayne Stage bar on the north side of Chicago, I decided to spend this historic night with them.
 
“Chicago Blues Mamas for Obama”
Katherine Davis
Deitra Farr
Shirley Johnson
Shirley King
Sharon Lewis
Liz Mandeville
Ellen Miller
Peaches Staten
Holle 'Thee' Maxwell
Nellie “Tiger” Travis
 (Copyright 2012 Rob Benetti Photography) 

8pm. When I opened the main door of the bar, the atmosphere was relaxed. People were watching TV broadcasting, drinking their favorite shot, and talking with friends. Every table had a small American flag. A big tv screen was tuned to CNN. Former NFL star Mike Jennings was reporting the results as they came in.

Cookie Taylor, daughter Koko Taylor, the “Queen of Blues, tonight’s host, introduced the nine divas. The singers got the audience moving, but anticipation was high for the “big moment.”

  
(Left) Mike Jennings hosting the event
(Right) from left: Nellie “Tiger” Travis, Peaches Staten, Melvin Smith (Bs)

Just as Shirly King, daughter of B.B.King, finished singing “We’re Gonna Win This Thing,” the big moment arrived : President Obama was re-elected. It threw the whole house into a state of feverish excitement. The divas jumped onto the stage, hugged each other and shouting “Four More Years!” with tears in their eyes. Their long election fight came to the happy ending they had worked so hard for.
 
Abbe Sparks, the social media director of “Chicago Blues Mamas for Obama,” and Mike Jennings read the message from President Obama.

“I have to say that the Obama campaign social media team really was on top of everything. I am looking forward to bringing this concert to Washington, DC, the Inauguration as well as around the world. I have interest from Shanghai and Bejing. These ladies, Divas, Chicago Blues Mamas need to be celebrated. It is always the men, they are amazing, of the Blues in Chicago, but these women have been singing the Blues on stages around the world, bringing our 'Sweet Home Chicago' Blues to an international audience. I was honored to have them all on one stage for such a historic, victorious night. ONE VOICE, ONE CHICAGO, representing Blues in AMERICA TEN DIVAS for OBAMA!!!!”

 
(Left) from left : Holle 'Thee' Maxwell, William Lovell Lillard, Shirley King  
(Right) Deitra Farr singing “The Search is Over” with Lynn Orman Weiss(Producer/Director - Chicago Blues Mamas for Obama)


Everyone in the bar joined the divas in singing the chorus of “Sweet Home, Chicago.” This song became the Obama’s supporters’ song ever since President Obama sang it at the Blues Session at the White House this past February.

   "Come on, baby don't you want to go
    Back to that same old place
    Sweet home Chicago"

◆ 

Driving home, I listened to Obama’s victory speech on the radio.

 “Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.” 

 “America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunities and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founding, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.”

 “What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on Earth, the belief that our destiny is shared, that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations....”

What kind of country is the United States? Where is it going? Why does it attract people from around the world? ―Since coming to this country, I’ve been searching for answers to those questions. This night, Obama’s words struck me and gave me a partial answer of those.
      


For the United States of America, the best is yet to come.
 


*Chicago Blues Mamas For Obama : www.chicagobluesmamas.com



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