Why We Agreed to Play at Donald Trump’s Inauguration

The Piano Guys
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Our Statement on our Inauguration Performance, by the Piano Guys.

The following comes from the Piano Guys, who agreed to play at Donald Trump’s Inauguration.  The group faced heavy backlash from fans, but decided not to back out.  Here’s their official statement on why they stayed on the bill.

Last night as I was kissing my daughter good night she asked me in an innocent, but tentative tone, “Daddy, why are people mad at you?” It brought tears to my eyes.

I told her that I wish I could gather up everyone angry with the Piano Guys one by one and talk with them face to face. Hear their story. Empathize with their concerns, and mourn together so we could comfort each other. We, too, are distraught and despondent over how divisive this chapter in our nation’s politics has been. We, too, want what’s best for everyone in this country.

Those of you who know us, know we grew up as “nerdy” musicians and we experienced bullying firsthand.

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.

And you also 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.  And 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.

Many have asked why we are performing at the Inauguration.

First, you need to know that when we were invited to perform we made it a matter of serious prayer and deep soul searching.  We’ve found that our music has offered the most optimism when we’ve had the opportunity to perform for people who may not completely agree with who we are or what we stand for.

Not long ago we had the chance to perform in a country that was dangerously at odds with our homeland.  We felt tremendous tension even as we deplaned and walked through the airport’s immigration system.  That night, prior to performing, we were tempted to shrink from the stage, but we prayed, steeled ourselves, and took that stage.

Reticently reaching out a hand in fellowship, we began to perform a folksong beloved by this country, which we had arranged especially for this occasion.  Something happened we’ll never forget.  All the animosity, all the cultural attrition, all the potential for hatred melted away like the dawn does with the fierce winter frost.   The audience began to sing – with a deeply placid, but resonant timbre.  The chasm separating us grew together. Tears washed away whatever the leaders of our respective nations had done to offend each other and for that moment we weren’t nationalistic opponents.

We weren’t political pawns.  And we weren’t labels. We were family.

When decisions are too difficult to make on our own one of the things we do is look to men and women who have acted above and beyond petty partisanship and even beyond themselves to bridge over barriers.  People that have made the world a better place because they stayed true to the mission they felt they were foreordained to fulfill.

People like Mother Teresa who defied cultural castes to serve people considered “untouchable.”  She once said,

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them. Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier. Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

We look to Marian Anderson – one of history’s bravest proponents of civil rights – an African-American woman who sang for two inaugurations in a divided, segregated nation, despite being treated by many in that nation with unthinkable prejudice and baseless hatred.  She once said,

“As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might.”

How she must have smiled from above when President Obama was elected – a landmark leap forward in the struggle she so peacefully fought so fiercely.

This same President Obama counseled us all to “work as hard as we can to make sure that this is a successful transition for the President-elect — because we are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.  The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy.  And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world.”

We look to Jesus Christ, who we believe to be the greatest example of unconditional love in history, whose antagonists attempted to trap him into treachery against his own teachings in order to uphold the law of the day and stone a woman they caught in adultery.  To them He suggested,

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

Jesus asked us to love our neighbor unconditionally and forgive those that sin differently than we do.

We’re no Mother Teresas. Far from it.  And we’ll never be as perfect as Christ.  But that won’t stop us from striving our best to be like them.  We’re not performing for politics or in support of one man or one woman.  We’re just doing all we can to follow our hearts in the unconditional pursuit of making this nation, and this world, a better place for all people – to use our music, which is a small thing, to span divides, spread love, and displace discord with harmony.

We have hope for the future!

When Jon’s daughter went missing people came to our aid in incredibly unselfish, loving, caring, and non-judgmental ways. We wish everyone could have seen the goodness in others we saw. It reaffirmed our hope that it’s gonna be okay. That, though the pendulum of politics swings one way or another, good will win in the end.

To our friends who have felt disturbed by our involvement, we want you to know that this doesn’t lessen our gratitude for what you have done for us.  Not one bit.  We still feel indebted to you.  We love you.  You give our music wings!

We sincerely hope and pray for your understanding.  And we don’t feel right limiting our positive message only to people who believe or act the same way we do.  We haven’t changed our message.  And we haven’t changed who we are, what we stand for, or what our music means and why we write it.

We’re still doing what we’ve always done – playing for anyone who will hear our musical message with the hope that it persuades its listeners to love others.

— The Piano Guys.

22 Responses

  1. Israeli

    It’s a shame to democracy they had to post such a message to be approved by the showbiz mafia

  2. Robert0

    Tosh. Your record company has been pushing it’s crossover artists on to this bill. You simply are following their direction.

    In any case you are supporting a figurehead of those who not only have questionable beliefs and motive but also wish to destroy the US National Endowment For The Arts, privatize public broadcasting and generally stifle the arts community. Sorry but you will prove yourselves to be a disgrace if you do this and you deserve to lose a large section of your fan base accordingly.

    • No More Hate

      Robert0, you just don’t get it, right? He is not supporting Trump, he is trying to send a message of love and peace….the only way to fight hate (Trump’s way) it’s not with hate (your way) it’s with love (piano guys way)

      • Will

        @ No More Hate: You mean to show support to a pathological liar, bully and sexist will make him think? Sorry, that’s dangerously naive. The guy is 70 years old and didn’t learn anything. And here come the Piano Guys and will change it. Nice dreams.

        • Anonymous

          Miracles happen every whether we hear about them or not and one of them just indeed might change his views.

  3. Ann

    The Piano Guys operate from love and truth, there is nothing self-serving about the ministry of their music and performance.

  4. Mee

    Keep it up libs. Crap like this is why Republicans now have
    House 239-192
    Senate 51-47
    33 Governors
    31 LG
    31 SOS
    68 of 99 state legislative chambers

    Republicans now have:
    House 239-192
    Senate 51-47
    33 Governors
    31 Lieutenant Governors
    31 SOS
    68 of 99 State legislative chambers
    And don’t get me started on SCOTUS:)

    Please NEVER stop

    • Ron

      The unity is definitely gone. No need for the TU anymore: POTUS becomes POS..

    • PiratesWinLOL

      it is wonderful 🙂

      trump just need to appoint true conservatives to the SCOTUS that are 30-something years old.

  5. Anonymous

    Talking about bullying as the ultimate bully takes office. Not buying it.

    • PiratesWinLOL

      the ultimate bully today is the regressives and the msm who scream sexist, racist, misogynist, homophobe etc. at anyone who dare to disagree with them.

  6. DPF

    The Piano Guy had the right to appear at the Inauguration or at the Womens’ March. They made a choice and as much as they want to deny the implications of that choice, it was a choice that expressed real meaning to more than half of the country. It is disingenuous and cowardly to now hide from that meaning and the disrespect that their choice shows to more than half of their fans. I have the right to choice too and have chosen to no longer follow The Piano Guy. What they stand for is not compatible with the beauty and peace I seek in music.

  7. Tom

    I’m sure that half million dollars you pocketed had nothing to do with it you sellout.

  8. Val

    I’ve only been vaguely aware of The Piano Guys, but offhand my feeling is that as a group most people had never heard of the legitimacy they offered by playing was minimal and it was a once in a life time opportunity that regardless of their philosophy it would be very difficult to decline. Particularly with kids to send through school. Also? I know that a lot of people interpreted covering Fight Song as a troll, but both that and It’s Gonna Be Okay could also be interpreted as subversive. That was y first thought.

    • Sean

      Are you even a musician? Do you have a clue what it means to be an artist?

  9. Andrew

    Such a long text and they didn’t even mention the real reason: money.
    Also, they didn’t play, they did playback.

  10. Dave

    Did you happen to tell your daughter while you were tucking her in, that people were disappointed in you and your group for supporting of a mysoginist , self-admitted stalking predator who, with even more power, will continue to inflict his vile crimes on other women? Keep up with those thoughts and prayers. She’ll need them.

  11. Nick

    I haven’t listened to a single Piano Guys track since they chose to “celebrate” this sham of a President who is a poster for disgrace and bullying to the world. All my American friends are ashamed and distraught at the thought of this awful example of a human.

  12. Sean

    Nearly three years later, many people, including myself (a cellist), still remember your ill-considered decision. I haven’t listened to your music since, don’t plan on listening to it, and I make sure all my friends are aware of the fact that you decided to go for the exposure rather than act in a principled manner. I don’t think you’ve learned yet what it means to be an artist. How sad.

  13. Adel

    Sweet jesus, this is awful. You use bullying, dragging your children into it, to claw at our heartstrings??? It is such a blatant attempt at being smart and manipulative. I dont want to even look at you guys any more. I was such a fan but this ruined it, it will have for countless others too. I’m disgusted.