Country music is the official soundtrack for several presidential inauguration events in Washington, D.C., this week.
Toby Keith, Lee Greenwood and the Frontmen of Country featuring Little Texas’ Tim Rushlow, Restless Heart’s Larry Stewart and Lonestar’s Richie McDonald will each sing at Thursday’s (Jan. 19) Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial.
The event will feature additional performances by soul legend Sam Moore, rock band 3 Doors Down and the Piano Guys, plus an appearance by actor Jon Voight. Military bands will also be on hand to honor the U.S. Armed Forces at the Celebration, which will feature remarks from President-elect Donald J. Trump and culminate with a fireworks display.
Also on Thursday (Jan. 19), the Great American Alliance and the Republican Party of New York’s Inaugural Ball will feature a performance by Big & Rich and Cowboy Troy. Rich is a former Celebrity Apprentice contestant who raised more than $1.3 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital when he competed and won season 11 in 2011.
Randy Rogers will perform a solo acoustic set at the Texas State Society of Washington, D.C.’s Black Tie and Boots 2017 Presidential Inaugural Ball in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Thursday’s annual event started in 1953 as a pre-inaugural cocktail party for President Dwight Eisenhower and has grown to become one of D.C.’s most prestigious events leading up to a presidential inauguration.
Classical singer Jackie Evancho will perform the National Anthem at Friday’s (Jan. 20) swearing-in ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. Program participants include Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference and Pastor Paula White of New Destiny Christian Center.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean and founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Rev. Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Bishop Wayne T. Jackson of Great Faith Ministries International will offer readings and give the benediction.
Rushlow and his Big Band, Moore and the Piano Guys are also among the entertainers booked for Friday’s (Jan. 20) Liberty and Freedom: The Official Presidential Inaugural Balls at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Tony Orlando and Josh Weathers will perform at the invitation-only Salute to Our Armed Services Ball at the National Building Museum.
In a Facebook Live chat on Monday (Jan. 16) Garth Brooks revealed he was invited to perform at the inauguration, but he said he couldn’t commit if his World Tour dates in Cincinnati were extended to two weekends.
“Come to find out that [Wynn Resorts CEO] Steve Wynn becomes kind of the point guy to get that committee done,” Brooks said. “Steve is my brother and I love him to death. He approached me and we sat down and we talked about it. And we left it up to karma. I said, ‘If Cincinnati goes two weekends instead of one, then we’re out.’ Sure enough, we did Cincinnati did five shows in two weekends. So we got knocked out of it.”
“I'm gonna tell you,” he added, “with this whole presidential thing: We've got one going out. Pray for him and his family. And for the president going in, pray for him and his family to guide this nation. Let's stay together. Love, unity, that's what it's all about. In the immortal words of Martin Luther King, the most durable power that we've known is love. It will always be that way. Again, I can't thank the Obamas enough for serving this country, and may God hold Trump's hand in the decisions that he makes in this country's name as well."
Speculation of Brooks’ involvement rose when TMZ posted a video last month asking him whether he would sing at the inauguration. At the time, Brooks wasn’t invited and said: “It's always about serving. It's what you do."