Recent national news stories focused on the marching band at a historically black college in Alabama that’s preparing to perform in President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural parade. After several days of intense debate on social media, where some people voiced strong opposition, the president of Talladega College in Alabama confirmed the band would perform.
Locally, another musical group is preparing to perform at the inaugural ceremony. And the Missouri State University Chorale also has gotten mixed responses to the news on social media. One person who commented in response to a December 26 story in the Kansas City Star about the group’s upcoming performance, congratulates the chorale, but says “I also support any members who find in their conscience that they cannot perform under current circumstances.”
But Missouri State Choral Studies Director Dr. Cameron LaBarr isn’t looking at the performance in a partisan way. He sees it as a great honor and a chance for millions to see the group perform. LaBarr says, “since the MSU Chorale was selected for this by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies well in advance of the election, the ensemble knew it would be performing as a non-partisan and non-political component to the ceremony regardless of the elected candidate, celebrating no particular person, but rather celebrating the uniqueness of the American government and the peaceful transition of power.”
LaBarr says they “have a wonderful group of young people in the MSU Chorale, who understand the bigger picture of this event within the context of our government.”
The MSU Chorale will perform a newly commissioned piece, “Now We Belong,” on January 20 in Washington D.C.
The public will have the chance to see the Chorale perform the piece Saturday night (1/14) at 6 at the MSU Welcome Center.