ST. GEORGE – In the wake of last week’s announcement that Utah’s own “The Piano Guys” would be performing at President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural welcome concert, fans have voiced both their support and their ire. The group issued a statement via their blog Sunday explaining why they accepted the invitation to perform.
In the blog post, an unidentified member of The Piano Guys wrote that, while kissing his daughter goodnight, she asked “Daddy, why are people mad at you?”
By agreeing to perform at the inaugural festivities Thursday, some respondents to the blog post, as well as on Facebook, have stated the group is basically endorsing a man whose behavior they find appalling and offensive.
The following are excerpts from The Piano Guys’ statement:
I told (my daughter) that I wish I could gather up everyone angry with the Piano Guys one by one and talk with them face to face. Hear their story. Empathize with their concerns, and mourn together so we could comfort each other.
We, too, are distraught and despondent over how divisive this chapter in our nation’s politics has been. We, too, want what’s best for everyone in this country. Those of you who know us, know we grew up as “nerdy” musicians and we experienced bullying firsthand. We abhor and decry bullying. You know that we honor our relationships with our spouses more than anything else.
You know we believe women are Divinely appointed to not only equality, but also respect and chivalrous deference.
You know that in our history our ancestors were refugees, driven from their homes in fear for their lives. We empathetically embrace those now in the same situation.
You know we believe in loving all people, regardless of gender, race, political affiliation, country of origin, or religious background. You know we believe that differences are meant to be celebrated, not calculated.
If you know our music, you know that we painstakingly, prayerfully write and perform it with the intention to give it the greatest potential to lift others and break down barriers, not build them.
They stated the following in conclusion:
To our friends who have felt disturbed by our involvement, we want you to know that this doesn’t lessen our gratitude for what you have done for us. Not one bit. We still feel indebted to you. We love you. You give our music wings! We sincerely hope and pray for your understanding. We don’t feel right limiting our positive message only to people that believe or act the same way we do.
We haven’t changed our message. We haven’t changed who we are, what we stand for, or what our music means and why we write it. We’re still doing what we’ve always done – playing for anyone who will hear our musical message with the hope that it persuades its listeners to love others.
Read The Piano Guys’ full statement here.
Other artists slated to appear at the “The Make American Great Again! Welcome Celebration” Thursday include Lee Greenwood, Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down, RaviDrums, The Frontmen of County, and actor Jon Voight.
The Piano Guys aren’t the only Utah-based group to face the ire of others for accepting an invitation to perform at Trump’s inauguration. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir announced last month it would be performing at the President-elect’s swearing-in ceremony set for Friday.
“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 are honored to be able to serve our country by providing music for the inauguration of our next president.”
The choir, which is a part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has performed at six inaugural events, starting with the swearing-in of President Richard M. Nixon in 1969. The choir’s last inaugural performance was for President George W. Bush in 2001 when they took part in the inaugural parade.
A woman left the choir over objections of performing for a man she compared to Adolf Hitler. An online petition asking the choir to reconsider performing at the inauguration was also created.
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