- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Piano Guys said Monday that their decision to perform at Donald Trump’s inauguration came after a period of “serious prayer and deep soul searching” and should not be seen as an endorsement.

The Utah-based group, which first found fame on YouTube, posted a lengthy statement on their website after facing backlash in recent days for accepting the offer to perform at the president-elect’s inaugural welcome concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday, one day before the inauguration.

“Our desire as The Piano Guys has always been to spread hope, love and joy through our music and videos,” the four-piece band wrote. “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.”

The group went on to denounce several offenses Mr. Trump is accused of, including bullying and the mistreatment of women.

“We, too, want what’s best for everyone in this country,” they wrote. “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.”

“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,” they continued. “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 Piano Guys insisted that their decision to perform for Mr. Trump was not an endorsement or political statement, but an effort to bring people together through music.

“We’re not performing for politics or in support of one man or one woman,” they wrote. “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.”

The Piano Guys will be joined by Toby Keith, 3 Doors Down, Lee Greenwood and the Frontmen of Country for the “Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration” on Jan. 19.

Mr. Trump’s search for talent to perform at the inauguration has been very public, with several prominent entertainers coming out and saying they would not participate due to the president-elect’s policies.

Broadway star Jennifer Holliday, who was originally announced as part of the Jan. 19 lineup, backed out Saturday after facing pressure from the LGBT community.

The Radio City Rockettes, Talladega Marching Tornadoes, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Jackie Evancho have also seen their share of controversy since agreeing to perform at the Jan. 20 inauguration.

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