The Olivet Nazarene University marching band performed at President Donald Trump’s Inauguration Ceremony on January 20. As one of the country’s largest Christian marching bands, about 140 students performed in the inaugural parade.
The university’s Director of Athletic Bands, Matthew Stratton, says the school was excited for this opportunity, telling the Chicago Tribune, “God has been taking us places, and so we are going and performing.”
The decision for this Nazarene University to perform at such an event has not come without controversy.
Many believe since Trump does not avidly support the lifestyle in accordance with that of the Nazarene faith, a school with such deep ties in the Wesleyan tradition should not show support by performing at his inauguration. This unrest went as far as an online petition, created by an Olivet Alumni, in hopes of stopping the band from following through with the performance.
While some are strongly opposed to Olivet’s involvement, others decide to remain neutral, like ENC’s sophomore Class Chaplain Rebekah Hay. As a native from Illinois and a lifelong member of the Nazarene Church, Hay says, “My sister just graduated from Olivet, and it’s an amazing achievement to be chosen to perform at such an event. I just hope that they are doing this in support of the country, and that this is not the school’s way of taking a political standpoint backing Trump and his actions.”
John Bowling, the Olivet University President, stands by the decision telling the Chicago Tribune, “From our point of view, the inauguration is not a political event but a civil ceremony celebrating the transfer of power. I am pleased our students will have the opportunity to participate in this historic event.” He has also stated that Olivet takes no political standpoint, nor do they endorse any candidate or party.
Despite any backlash, the Illinois-based university students performed in the parade last Friday, following the inauguration of President Trump.