By Francesca Norsen Tate
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The Grammy-Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has been invited to perform at the 57th Presidential Inaugural Ceremonies next January.
Sen. Charles Schumer, chairman of the 2013 Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, announced the invitiation. He has frequently visited the vibrant and thriving Brooklyn Tabernacle and is a big fan of its choir.
The choir was established in the 1970s under the direction of Carol Cymbala, wife of Brooklyn Tabernacle Pastor Jim Cymbala, with only nine members, and the group quickly became integral to the worship services, according to its website. Then, in the early 1980s, Mrs. Cymbala felt called to make a recording as a spiritual resource for the congregation. When she couldn’t find enough suitable material, she began writing songs for the choir to sing at its worship services.
The Cymbalas credit God’s grace and blessings as the reason for the choir’s growth over the past decades. The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir now stands at 280 members, all of whom bring diverse backgrounds. Even though most of its members lack formal vocal or musical training, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has won Dove Awards and six Grammy Awards. The choir has performed at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, and the Madison Square Garden Theater. The ensemble also sang at the Billy Graham Crusades in Central Park and Flushing Meadows Park.
Schumer’s invitation to Pastor Cymbala reads, “As a frequent visitor to their wonderful congregation I know from first-ear experience how amazing this choir is, and I know they will wow the whole nation, too. I know this invitation is music to their ears, and they will send their talented, Grammy award-winning singers to represent my hometown Brooklyn in the nation’s capital. I look forward to Pastor Jim Cymbala’s decision, as I know the choir will showcase the best that New York has to offer.”
Schumer said the choir's televised performance will be during a prelude to the official ceremony, before a distinguished audience that includes former presidents, senators, members of Congress and cabinet officials.
Congress has established the date of the 2013 inauguration as Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, since Jan. 20 is a Sunday. This will be is the seventh time in U.S. history that the constitutionally-mandated inauguration date occurs on a Sunday; the last time was for President Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration in 1985.
Jan. 21, 2013, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and will mark the second time that this federal holiday has coincided with a Presidential inauguration. The first was President Bill Clinton’s second inauguration on Monday, Jan. 20, 1997.