The Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s upcoming performance during President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration has been the subject of much debate in the weeks since it was announced. Last week, choir member Jan Chamberlin announced on her Facebook page her decision to resign from the choir. Another choir member, Cristi Ford Brazao, who says she has been part of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for seven years, also took to Facebook to share her feelings regarding the choir’s singing at the inauguration.
“I can’t speak on behalf of everyone in the choir but for me, my mission as a singer has always been to soften hearts, to bridge gaps, to make connections and also to make friends," Brazao said in a Dec. 24 video. "It’s not so much about converting people but a spirit of fellowshipping.”
Brazao explained that upon learning of the choir’s agreement to sing in the inauguration, she turned to her family as well as examples like Marian Anderson, an African-American woman who sang at two presidential inaugurations during the days of segregation when “she couldn’t even walk in the front door of the building where she was performing her own concert because of the color of her skin.”
Brazao expressed gratitude for the example of Anderson as well as the Buffalo Soldiers and the Tuskegee Airmen in aiding her in her decision to sing.
“What I’m trying to do as a person is to be like Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ associated with prostitutes and liars and thieves and while he did not endorse what they were doing, he still didn’t hold his mission from them," Brazao said. "And my mission is one of love, peace and hope and I want to share that with others, even in the face of ridicule because that’s what Jesus Christ did.”
Brazao ends her video, which has been viewed over 100,000 times, by expressing her belief in “the power of music.”
“In this country where people are so divided and people are hurting. I truly believe in the power of music," she said. "It can heal hearts and I want to contribute to that healing and also to bringing people together.”
Watch Brazao's video here.