SALT LAKE CITY, Dec. 30 (UPI) — A soprano singer quit the Mormon Tabernacle Choir on Friday rather than perform at the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.
Jan Chamberlin wrote a resignation letter to choir president Ron Jarrett — and her fellow singers, saying she “could never look myself in the mirror again with self-respect” if she sang in the Jan. 20 ceremony in Washington.
“I have spent several sleepless nights and days in turmoil and agony,” Chamberlin wrote in a letter she also posted on Facebook. “I have reflected carefully on both sides of the issue, prayed a lot, talked with family and friends, and searched my soul. I’ve tried to tell myself that by not going to the inauguration, that I would be able to stay in choir for all the other good reasons.”
Chamberlin, who has sung with the choir for five years, said, “But it’s no use. I simply cannot continue with the recent turn of events.”
Chamberlin likened Trump to Adolf Hitler and accused him of “stirring up people with a combination of fanaticism, false promises, and fear.”
“I only know I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler,’ ” she wrote. “And I certainly could never sing for him.”
In a statement, the chief spokesman of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said it is not mandatory singers perform at the inauguration.
“Participation in the choir, including the performance at the Inauguration, is voluntary,” Eric Hawkins said. “Only a limited number of choir members are participating [the number is limited by the inaugural committee], and none are required to participate.”
Not all 360 singers will make the trip, but church officials expect about 215 to participate.
Randall Thacker, a lifetime Mormon and past president of Affirmation, a support organization for gay Latter-day Saints, launched a petition against the choir’s participation. By Thursday, it had nearly 19,000 signatures worldwide.
Radio City Rockettes performer Phoebe Pearl has also refused to perform with her group.