The Piano Guys, a popular LDS music group with over one billion video views to date, have shared why they accepted the invitation to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration later this month. The statement comes at a time when Church members are already hotly contesting the announcement that another LDS performing group, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, will be performing as well.
The condensed version of a longer statement was shared on the group’s official Facebook page:
“Our desire as The Piano Guys has always been to spread hope, love and joy through our music and videos. We accepted the invitation to perform at the Inauguration with this objective in mind. We would have been honored at the opportunity no matter who was being sworn in. We strive to make all vital decisions a matter of serious soul searching and prayer. We felt very strongly that we needed to accept this invitation.
We, too, are distraught over how divisive this chapter in our nation’s politics has been, but we have hope for the future! When Jon’s daughter went missing people came to our aid in incredibly unselfish, loving, caring, and nonjudgmental ways. It reaffirmed our hope that it’s gonna be okay. As the pendulum of politics swings one way or another, let us all pray for understanding and for goodwill to win in the end.”
In the longer statement, which can be read in full here, includes how the group made the decision after “deep soul searching,” an experience when the group performed in a country “dangerously at odds with our homeland,” and how they pray the optimism in their music can help heal the divides in our country. They also discuss some of their own moral stances on hot topic issues:
“We abhor and decry bullying. You know that we honor our relationships with our spouses more than anything else. You know we believe women are Divinely appointed to not only equality, but also respect and chivalrous deference. You know that in our history our ancestors were refugees, driven from their homes in fear for their lives. We empathetically embrace those now in the same situation. You know we believe in loving all people, regardless of gender, race, political affiliation, country of origin, or religious background. You know we believe that differences are meant to be celebrated, not calculated. If you know our music, you know that we painstakingly, prayerfully write and perform it with the intention to give it the greatest potential to lift others and break down barriers, not build them.”
The decision to perform comes at a difficult time for the group. Pianist Jon Schmidt and his family made headlines late last year when his daughter Annie went missing and whose body was later found in the mountain trails of Oregon. This performance will mark one of the first since the loss.