In 2001, the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square members were singing in rain and cold in an inauguration parade for President George W. Bush.
“I was overwhelmed at their enthusiasm, their optimism, their joy,” then-director Craig Jessop said at the time. “They were cold and wet and should have been miserable, but they were happy. Their smiles and their spirits just radiated. I was so proud of them.”
The choir, then called the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, also received a thumbs up salute from President Bush.
The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square has participated in seven U.S. presidential inaugurations for six different presidents.
The inauguration of the U.S. president takes place on Jan. 20 and the ceremony includes the swearing in of the incoming president and vice president traditionally at the U.S. Capitol. The choir has performed at the swearing-in ceremony, concerts and galas, along with parades associated with Inauguration Day.
“The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has a great tradition of performing at the [inaugurations] of U.S. presidents,” said Ron Jarrett, president of the Tabernacle Choir, said in 2016. “Singing the music of America is one of the things we do best.
It was in 1981 at President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration when the choir sang “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” that he dubbed the group “America’s Choir,” according to the choir’s website.
The events the choir has participated in include the 1965 swearing-in ceremony for President Lyndon B. Johnson; events at both inaugurations for President Richard M. Nixon in 1969 and 1973; and the parade and opening ceremony for President Reagan in 1981. Also, they’ve performed in parades and concerts in 1989 for President George H.W. Bush and in 2001 for President George W. Bush. In 2017, the choir performed at the U.S. Capitol for the swearing-in ceremony for President Donald J. Trump.
A detailed list is available on the choir’s website at thetabernaclechoir.org.
The choir has also performed for several other U.S. presidents both in Utah and in Washington, D.C. These include a performance in the Salt Lake Tabernacle for Presidents Jimmy Carter in 1978 and John F. Kennedy in 1963.
The choir performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., in 1974, where President Gerald Ford heard them. They performed at the White House in 1958 for President Dwight D. Eisenhower and for William Howard Taft in 1911, according to the history on the choir’s website.
Below is the Church News’ coverage of the choir in previous inauguration events: