The Tiger Marching Band will be “proud and thrilled” to represent Olivet Nazarene University at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration this Friday, according to a report by The College Fix.
The Christian university, located just outside of Chicago, has had some debate over the issue. An alumnus posted a petition online that called for the withdrawal of the band from the inauguration because “sadly, President-elect Trump has consistently articulated and advocated policies that undermine the Christian commitments of communities like Olivet. His well-documented sexism, his political alliances with white supremacists, and his hostility towards immigrants and refugees are just a few positions incompatible with Christian teachings in general and the Nazarene message of holiness in particular.”
That didn’t wash for a lot of the band members, including band council president Tori Kober, who says she’s “thrilled” at the opportunity.
“People who have never heard of Olivet will see our band marching on a massive stage,” she said. “Everything our band does is #fortheLord, and this is an amazing opportunity for us to bring the love of God to our nation’s capitol.”
So students shot back with their own online petition, asking people to “congratulate the ONU Marching Tigers on being selected to perform at the 2017 Inauguration.”
“The inauguration is a celebration of everything that is good about America,” Olivet student Mattheus Mitchell’s petition begins.
That’s the consensus, according to Jeff Gerstenberger, an Olivet student. “Most students are very supportive of us going as a university,” Gerstenberger said. “This future performance is not a political stance or statement from Olivet.”
University president John Bowling also told the students in an e-mail that an inauguration is not about who you voted for in the last presidential election.
“The inauguration of a new president is not a political event, but a civic ceremony honoring the office of the president,” Bowling stated. “This selection reflects our band’s long hours of preparation and hard work and provides a wonderful, rare opportunity for our students to see firsthand the peaceful transition of government.”
The university is behind the inauguration honor, congratulating the band and citing an observation from drumline section leader Jacob Rechsteiner: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event.”
According to Matthew Stratton, 140 members will participate in the parade. The Olivet ensemble is one of the largest Christian marching bands in the U.S.
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