The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s performance at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017, will mark their seventh inaugural performance. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has performed for both Democrat and Republican presidents over the years, but none with an approval rating as low as Trump’s. (Laura Spilsbury)
The Piano Guys announced they will perform alongside the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, prompting criticism.
“We’re not performing for politics or in support of one man or one woman,” the Piano Guys said in a statement on their blog. “We’re just doing all we can to follow our hearts in the unconditional pursuit of making this nation and this world a better place for all people — to use our music, which is a small thing, to span divides, spread love and displace discord with harmony.”
They said they are following the examples and counsel of influentials such as Mother Teresa, Marion Anderson and President Barack Obama, all of whom fought against hatred and stood for peace.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has faced the same criticisms and opposition for their upcoming performance at the inauguration. In a statement on the choir’s website, Mormon Tabernacle Choir President Ron Jarrett said choir members are “honored to be able to serve our country by providing music for the inauguration of our next president.”
BYU College Republicans communications officer Vanessa Oler said she doesn’t believe the performances are endorsements of Trump.
“It’s the same attitude the military holds towards the Commander in Chief,” Oler said. “Lots of them didn’t agree with the policies of Bush or Obama, and a lot don’t agree with Trump, but they are still serving and supporting their country as an institution.”
BYU College Democrats Vice President Ben Bay said performing in the inauguration is a mistake. He said Americans shouldn’t support the office of the president before their own ideals.
“I don’t think in America there is any notion that you have to support the president. You should support the ideals that you believe in, the ideals that America was founded upon,” Bay said. “But whenever someone tells you that you need to support an individual, that’s where it starts looking less like the free democracy that we know and love.”
He said the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Piano Guys’ participation in the inauguration is hypocritical.
“When they (the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Piano Guys) say that it’s a missionary opportunity, sure, I can understand that,” he said. “But it’s a little strange that the incoming president with a record-low approval rating would be the man they chose to associate themselves with to further their missionary work.”
Bay said the inauguration is a politically charged event.
“Whether the church likes it or not, it is a political decision,” Bay said. “I’m not necessarily against the church doing political things, but in this context I am because I don’t want to be associated with Donald Trump more than I already am just being a Mormon.”
Vanessa Oler said even if a person disagrees with Trump, changes will have to come from within the administration.
“At the end of the day it comes down to the fact that there is nothing we can do to stop Trump from being the president,” she said. “Whether you support Trump or not, you have to effect change from the inside.”