With the Mormon Tabernacle Choir set to take the stage at Donald Trump’s Jan. 20 presidential inauguration, one veteran singer announced she is resigning in protest.
Jan Chamberlin shared her decision through a letter, now posted to her Facebook page, and addressed it to the choir president and members. In the letter, she compared the president-elect to Adolf Hitler.
“I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler.’ And I certainly could never sing for him,” wrote Chamberlin.
“I simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events. I could never look myself in the mirror again with self respect.”
In hyper-dramatic fashion — and practically crying for a safe space all her own — Chamberlin said she has been sleepless and tortured since the announcement the choir would play the inauguration. “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.”
Sure, people take their sides. But this level of controversy surrounding the president-elect’s upcoming inauguration is shocking and even highly disrespectful. Taking part in a presidential inauguration does not equate to a political move. A performance is not an endorsement. The event is more about the democratic process in America and hope for the future than anything else.
Yet at a time in which absolutely everything is twisted or mutated into something political, Chamberlin apparently feels the opposite. “I also know, looking from the outside in, it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and fascism by singing for this man,” she wrote about the organization.
The singer’s public resignation comes on the heels of rumors that Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli was bullied out of potentially performing at Trump’s inauguration due to harassing fans and a possible boycott of his work.
It also comes after news that a dancer for the Rockettes implied performers were being forced to dance “with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts.” It was, however, made clear by the management that all Rockettes dancers would be voluntary participants.
No matter the election results in years past, the swearing in of United States presidents has been a time in which the majority of Americans are able to come together and hope for a brighter future. The inauguration itself should not be a divisive, political event, but an inclusive and reflective moment for the country. It’s an honor for performers to take the stage and share their abilities, their energies and their respect for an always growing, always evolving country.
This time, things are unfortunately different. Performers claim they are threatened and harassed — while others are imprisoned by their own mindsets. The inauguration has far more to do with the country than with any one man or woman.
Even through all of this, the winners stand tall. And Jackie Evancho, the 16-year-old “America’s Got Talent” runner-up, has stood taller than the rest. Announced as the first performer to be part of Trump’s inauguration, Evancho revealed to People magazine that she and her family were targets of harassment because of the impending performance.
“My family is kind of a big target. I have a transgender sister and so a lot of hate goes toward us, but I also get a lot of love. So, we pay most attention to that. Sometimes we get really annoyed with the hate. Everyone does. We have to admit it but we just ignore it,” she said. Still — the young artist has not let any of it harm her excitement or her willingness to share her art in a truly patriotic fashion.
“I feel like it’s going to be a big audience and I love big audiences.”