The Significance of January 20th in Mormon Tabernacle Choir History
Updated January 4, 2017
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has performed at inaugural activities for United States presidents on six different occasions. The Choir’s tradition of performing for US Presidents of both parties at Inaugurations and in other settings is not an implied support of party affiliations or politics. It is a demonstration of our support for freedom, civility and the peaceful transition of power.”
Lyndon B. Johnson
January 20, 1965: Conducted by Richard P. Condie, the Choir performed “This Is My Country” at the official swearing-in ceremony.
January 20, 1969: At the official swearing-in ceremony, the Choir once again performed “This Is My Country.” They also performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” accompanied by the United States Marine Band. (Note: In 1973, 30 members of the Choir performed at a devotional in the White House's East Room as part of Richard Nixon's second inaugural activities.)
January 20, 1981: During the inaugural parade, the Choir performed “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” On this occasion, President Reagan dubbed the Choir “America’s Choir.” (The Choir also performed at the opening ceremony of the inaugural activities at the Lincoln Center on January 17, 1981.)
George H. W. Bush
January 20, 1989: The Choir performed prelude music prior to the swearing-in ceremony in front of the Capitol. President Bush called the Choir “a national treasure.” They performed in the inaugural parade later that day and also in the Inauguration Gala at the Convention Center on January 19, 1989.
George W. Bush
January 20, 2001: During the inaugural parade, the Choir performed “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “God Bless America,” and “America the Beautiful.”
Performances for Other U.S. Presidents
The Choir has also performed on other occasions for five additional Uniited States Presidents: William Howard Taft (White House, 1911); Dwight D. Eisenhower (White House, 1958); John F. Kennedy (Salt Lake Tabernacle, 1963); Gerald Ford (Kennedy Center, 1974); Jimmy Carter (Salt Lake Tabernacle, 1978).
The above video shows a solemn rendition of “God Bless America” performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square.