Mormon Tabernacle Choir Performs at Inauguration of 45th U.S. President

  • 20 January 2017

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs “America the Beautiful” for the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, the 45th president of the United States, on January 20, 2017.

“The opportunity for us to be in Washington, D.C., is an opportunity to serve this great country of the United States, an opportunity for us to share the healing and powerful message of music with the entire world.” —Ron Jarrett, choir president

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performed during the 58th Presidential Inauguration in the nation’s capital Friday.

Moments before the swearing-in ceremony of President Donald J. Trump, the choir, standing on the historic West Terrace of the U.S. Capitol and accompanied by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, sang “America the Beautiful” arrranged by music director Mack Wilberg.

“It’s one of our great songs because it talks about our great heritage and our continued potential as a great nation,” said Wilberg.

Choir members were dressed in crème-colored coats with matching turtleneck sweaters and red plaid scarves as they sang outdoors under cloudy skies. In all, 215 singers of the 360-member choir, considered goodwill ambassadors of the Church, traveled from Salt Lake City to the nation’s capital for the historic event after accepting an invitation from the U.S. Presidential Inauguration Committee.

Not all choir members could attend the inauguration due to space limitations on the platform at the Capitol. Attendees were randomly chosen from the choir members who volunteered to perform.

“The opportunity for us to be in Washington, D.C., is an opportunity to serve this great country of the United States, an opportunity for us to share the healing and powerful message of music with the entire world,” said Ron Jarrett, president of choir.

Almost a million people attended the January 20 outdoor event in person, with millions more tuning in across the globe.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir prepares to sing “America the Beautiful” at the inauguration of Donald Trump, January 20, 2017.

The swearing-in ceremony of the 45th president is the sixth time the choir was invited to an inauguration. The first was the 1965 inauguration of Lyndon B. Johnson, followed by the 1969 inauguration of Richard M. Nixon, the 1981 inauguration of Ronald Reagan, the 1989 inauguration of George H. W. Bush, and the 2001 inauguration of George W. Bush. With the choir performing at the 1989 inaugural ceremony and then riding in the parade, it has made seven appearances at an inauguration.

It was during the 1981 inaugural parade that President Ronald Reagan dubbed the choir “America’s Choir” when it sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” His successor, President George H. W. Bush, called the choir a “national treasure” during his swearing-in ceremony in 1989.

“I worked for both the Clinton and Bush administrations, and this is my fourth inauguration to attend,” said choir member Caroline Marriott in the Mormon Newsroom report. “I am honored to be a part of this organization as a goodwill ambassador.”

Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles also attended the inauguration. According to MormonNewsroom.org, their participation continues a long-standing tradition of Church leaders who have supported and celebrated freedom, civility, and the process that makes possible the peaceful transfer of power provided for in the U.S. Constitution.

Mormon Tabernacle Choir music director Mack Wilberg conducts the choir in the outdoor performance of his arrangement of “America the Beautiful” just before noon on the West Terrace of the Capitol for the inauguration of President Donald Trump on Friday, January 20, 2017.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir prepares to sing “America the Beautiful” at the inauguration of Donald Trump, January 20, 2017.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs “America the Beautiful” for the inauguration of Donald J. Trump, 45th president of the United States, on January 20, 2017.

Members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir file onto the national stage to perform “America the Beautiful” for the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump on Friday, January 20, 2017.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs a sound check outside the U.S. Capitol prior to the January 20 inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir performs a sound check outside the U.S. Capitol prior to the January 20 inauguration of President Donald J. Trump.

Workers prepare the podium for the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States.