Springfield was front and center at Friday morning’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C. as the Missouri State University Chorale performed before thousands on the National Mall and millions on television.
Just minutes before Donald Trump was sworn in as the nation’s 45th president, the nearly 50-member choir sang “Now We Belong,” whose lyrics embrace a sense of unity. The group has toured throughout the United States, Europe, and South Africa, but Friday’s event came in front of its biggest audience by far.
The chorale was selected to perform at the inauguration last October by Sen. Roy Blunt. The Missouri Republican oversaw today’s proceedings as chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.
“Well the Missouri State University Chorale practices and performs about two blocks from my home in Springfield, Missouri. So it was easy to find them and we’re pleased they’re here,” said Blunt.
St. Louis' Fox affiliate has uploaded video of the group's performance.
Sophomore Kimberly Korff was among a small gathering of students, along with university officials, to watch the performance inside the Plaster Student Union Theater on the MSU campus.
“It was a little surreal for me, seeing people that I’ve had in class before, that I’ve talked to, had lunch with representing small town America in a really big way and a really beautiful way.”
It’s something Korff the university and community will remember for a really long time, and is great exposure for MSU.
“Anytime anybody hears about the MSU Bears I think they’ll remember that our chorale had the honor of singing at Donald Trump’s inauguration,” she said.
— Clif Smart (@ClifSmart) January 20, 2017
Leading up to the inauguration, chorale members had acknowledged the negative attention many of the performers and those asked to perform were receiving. But since it was selected to take the stage, a full month before the November election, the group says its involvement was intended to be non-partisan, with the musical selection focusing on unifying the country.
After the watch party Friday, MSU Dean of Students Thomas Lane said he was proud to see and hear the chorale offer “the gift of their voice.” He called the university’s chance to participate in the transfer of power an honor.
“No matter what your political persuasion is, it’s great for our institution I think and for our students to be a part of something that has had a long tradition,” said Dr. Lane.