First Elton Jonn unequivocally said no. Then the Rockettes finally got a hall pass to pull out. Then, as the hunt for talent at Donald Trump’s inauguration got more desperate, reports surfaced that bookers were being offered ambassadorships to haul in big names.
None were forthcoming. But at least the January event had teenage classical singer Jackie Evancho and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir lined up.
Now, it looks like even the latter isn’t a safe bet.
A member of the choir, Jan Chamberlin, announced Thursday on Facebook that she was quitting the group over its decision to play the event, saying that it would be an endorsement of “tyranny and fascism.”
“I love you all, and I know the goodness of your hearts, and your desire to go out there and show that we are politically neutral and share good will,” Chamberlin wrote in a lengthy post. “That is the image Choir wishes to present and the message they desperately want to send. I also know, looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and fascism by singing for this man.”
“I only know I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler.’ And I certainly could never sing for him.”
“I only know I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler.’ And I certainly could never sing for him,” she added.
Chamberlin insisted in the note that the decision did not come lightly. “I have spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony,” she wrote. “I have reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul.”
In the end, however, the decision was not difficult. “My heart is shattered and broken … but my conscience is clear. And THAT, really is all that matters,” she finished.
The choir is part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and some 215 of the 360 singers are expected to volunteer for the gig. Members were not compelled to participate, but Chamberlin decided she couldn’t remain a part of the choir even if she didn’t show up to the event.
A petition started by a lifelong Mormon insisting that the choir should not play, meanwhile, has received 23,000 signatures.
While A-list talent is still forthcoming, Trump’s inaugural committee released a list of groups that have agreed to play the parade Friday. Among the organizations are high school and university marching bands, equestrian corps, first responders and veterans groups, including Boy Scouts of America, Wounded Warriors and U.S. Border Patrol Pipes & Drums.
And if all else fails on the hunt for star power, Alec Baldwin’s offer to perform “Highway to Hell” presumably still stands.