History of Inaugural Appearances
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has performed for U. S. presidents of both parties in many settings, including six previous presidential inaugurals. The previous inaugural performances have included swearing-in ceremonies, appearances in the inaugural parade and at the inaugural opening ceremony as well as at a devotional program. The Choir’s participation in these events is not an implied support of party affiliations or politics, but rather a demonstration of its support for freedom, civility and the peaceful transition of power. The 2017 participation in the swearing-in ceremony of the 45th president is the Choir’s seventh inaugural performance.
“The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has a great tradition of performing at the inaugurals of U. S. presidents," said Ron Jarrett, president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. "Singing the music of America is one of the things we do best. We were honored to be able to serve our country by providing music for the inauguration of our president."
The inauguration of U.S. presidents takes place every four years on January 20, when the newly-elected president takes the oath of office, traditionally at the U. S. Capitol building. All inaugural ceremonies are organized by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies while invitations to perform in the various inaugural events are extended by a Presidential Inaugural Committee selected by the incoming president.
Inaugural events traditionally held on January 20 include the swearing-in ceremony, congressional luncheon, a parade from the U. S. Capitol building to the White House, and the inaugural balls. Other inaugural events such as concerts and devotionals are held in the days preceding or following the Inauguration.
1965 Lyndon B. Johnson swearing-in ceremony. Photo: Deseret News.
Detailed below are various events for the inaugurals in which the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has participated:
1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States
The Choir performed at the U. S. Capitol in the swearing-in ceremony.
1969: President Richard. M. Nixon, 37th President of the United States
The Choir performed at the U. S. Capitol in the swearing-in ceremony and at the inaugural concert at Constitution Hall on Sunday, January 19.
1973: President Richard M. Nixon, Second Inaugural Devotional
Thirty members of the Choir performed for the inaugural devotional for his second term on Sunday, January 21, in the East Room of the White House.
1981: President Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the United States
The Choir performed in the inaugural parade and in the inaugural opening ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday, January 17.
1989: President George H. W. Bush, 41st President of the United States
The Choir performed at the U. S. Capitol before the swearing-in ceremony and in the parade. The Choir also sang at an inaugural gala at the Convention Center on Thursday, January 19 and at a concert, “An American Tribute to Democracy,” at Constitution Hall on Saturday, January 21.
2001: President George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States
The Choir performed in the inauguration parade. The Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performed a concert on Friday, January 19 at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.
2017: President Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States
The Choir performed at the U. S. Capitol for the swearing-in ceremony.