It was recently announced that the world-famous Mormon Tabernacle Choir will be performing at the January 20 inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump. In recent weeks, it is has been widely reported that the Trump inauguration team has been struggling to secure A-list talent to perform at the event, with many citing their aversion to Donald Trump’s impending presidency. Even among the performers that have been secured to work the event, there has been division and negative fall-out.
Last week, it was reported that the Rockettes would be performing at the inauguration; it was further reported that some so-called “full-time” dancers were being forced to dance against their will. The claims caused social media outrage and eventually the Rockettes’ union announced that performing at the Trump inauguration would be voluntary for all participants.
Now, at least one member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir is following in the footsteps of some disgruntled Rockettes.
As the Salt Lake Tribune reports, there was some immediate backlash among Mormons and non-Mormons alike following the announcement that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would be performing at the Trump inauguration. A petition was circulated demanding that the choir back out of the event, a petition that has gathered thousands of signatures so far but has not resulted in any action on behalf of the group. While the Mormon Tabernacle Choir hasn’t shown any indication that it will be changing its inauguration plans, one singer has publicly resigned from the group in protest of the upcoming event.
“As members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we strongly urge the Church to stop this practice and especially for an incoming president who has demonstrated sexist, racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic behavior that does not align with the principles and teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
According to Jan Chamberlin, who publicly gave up her prestigious spot with the Tabernacle Choir in a scathing anti-Trump Facebook post, performing at the Trump inauguration would result in losing her self-respect.
“I could never look myself in the mirror again with self-respect.”
She even went so far as to directly compare Trump to Hitler, adding that “I only know I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler.’ And I certainly could never sing for him.”
In the open letter, which the Mormon Tabernacle Choir member sent to other choir members and the choir president Ron Jarrett, and was also posted publicly on social media, Jan wrote that she has concerns about how the Trump inauguration performance will reflect on the reputation of the conservatively oriented group. She claimed that the scheduled performance has the real potential to severely damage the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s “image and networking.”
“Since ‘the announcement,’ I have spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony. I have reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul,” wrote in a resignation letter to the choir president and choir members. “I’ve tried to tell myself that by not going to the inauguration, that I would be able to stay in choir for all the other good reasons. I’ve tried to tell myself that it will be all right and that I can continue in good conscience before God and man.”
Mormon Tabernacle Choir is going to perform for Trump's inauguration b/c all of the non-religious choices were like "Nah, we have morals."— Marybeth Glenn (@MBGlenn) December 22, 2016
@HuffPostPol trump disgust crosses Religious boundaries . That speaks volumes. Have them sing at his impeachment. Russian hack!— david (@david_davidjay5) December 30, 2016
@DonaldTrumpLeak good for her! Makes me proud to know there are still people with self respect and integrity!— Chris Murillo (@chrismurillo111) December 30, 2016
Trump inauguration lineup 2017 :— Gord Macey (@GordMacey) December 30, 2016
Some of the Rockettes
Some of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Stand back, Coachella!
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has come out in its own defense, claiming that performing in the Trump inauguration is wholly voluntary. The group has refused to comment on whether other members of the choir have resigned over the inauguration. However, NBC News reports that, during an interview, Jan Chamberlin claimed that she is far from the only member of the group that feels this way about Donald Trump and the controversial impending inauguration performance
“There are a number of people who feel that going out to sing for this particular candidate expresses a conflicted message that might undermine the beautiful message that the choir for so many decades has worked so hard to cultivate with so many people. It’s not just America’s choir, it’s also the world’s choir.”
Chamberlin, a soprano, has sung with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for five years, and even runs a studio out of her Utah home. She says that in the aftermath of her very public choice to cut her ties with the musical group over the Trump inauguration, her fellow choir members have have been supportive, and their reaction “has been very loving.”
Despite media reports regarding the lack of A-list performers willing to perform at the Trump inauguration, the Trump team has denied that they are having trouble filling performance spots.
Trump has responded to the inauguration woes through his communication medium of choice: Twitter. In his signature fashion, the president-elect appeared to claim that his big event will be short on stars because he doesn’t want them there, not because they don’t want to perform or even show up.
The so-called "A" list celebrities are all wanting tixs to the inauguration, but look what they did for Hillary, NOTHING. I want the PEOPLE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2016
So far, neither Donald Trump nor his team have publicly responded to the news that a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has “gone Rockette” and quit her prestigious gig rather than perform at the Trump inauguration — or even remain a part of a group that is planning to.
[Featured Image by Fred Hayes/AP Images]