Despite a few members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir dropping out of a performance at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, one member is hoping to make her presence a lesson in resilience.
Over the holidays, Christi Ford Brazao posted a video to her Facebook page to share her thoughts on performing at the ceremony and how her religion played an important factor in her choice. It was announced back in December the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would take part in the ceremony. The performance continues a tradition of the choir singing for former presidents like George H. W. Bush (1989), Richard Nixon (1969) and Lyndon Johnson (1965). They’ve also sung at the inaugural parades of George W. Bush (2001) and Ronald Reagan (1981).
During her post, Brazao said she shared the news with her parents (who prayed for her) and her family. She likened her experience to the iconic Black figure, Marian Anderson. The contralto made history when she sang at the inaugurations of Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, and John F. Kennedy, a Democrat.
“I can’t speak on behalf of everyone in the choir but for me, my mission as a singer has always been to soften hearts, to bridge gaps, make connections and also to make friends,” she said. “It’s not so much about converting people but the spirit of fellowshipping. My thoughts also fell on Marian Anderson…who sung at two inaugurations at a time in this country when she couldn’t even walk in the front door of a building where she was performing her own concert because of the color of her skin. And I’m grateful for Marian’s decision to sing at those inaugurations because I have her example to turn to today.”
She also went on to explain her overal mission—to spread the gospel. “Jesus Christ associated with prostitutes, liars and thieves, but he didn’t endorse what they were doing,” Brazao said. “My mission is one of love, peace and hope and I want to share that with others, even in the face of ridicule because that’s what Jesus did.”
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, only 212 out of 360 singers in the choir will attend the ceremony. It’s not known how many members are of color. In December, soprano Jan Chamberlin announced her decision not to perform at the ceremony, citing a “moral issue.” “I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler,'” Chamberlin said. “And I certainly could never sing for him.”
Other performances for the inauguration include Jackie Evancho of America’s Got Talent and the Radio City Rockettes.