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Phoenix singer to perform at wreath-laying ceremony for Donald Trump’s inauguration

In this Jan. 15, 2016, photo, the U.S. Capitol frames the backdrop over the stage during a rehearsal of President-elect Donald Trump's swearing-in ceremony in Washington. Some two dozen House Democrats plan to boycott Trump's inauguration on Friday, casting the Republican businessman as a threat to democracy. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

PHOENIX — A Valley singer will have a front-row seat to Donald Trump’s inauguration — and all the events surrounding it — in Washington, D.C. this week.

Dawn Rolland, owner of Phoenix Academy for Performing Arts, will be singing “God Bless America” with the Grammy-nominated gospel group The Nelons during a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington Cemetery on Thursday.

While many A-list celebrities have turned down the opportunity to perform at Trump’s inauguration, Rolland said the ceremony is about more than just the president.

“The big picture is that this is about the country,” she said.  “This is about opportunities that God brings your way.

“It’s not to promote one particular person over another, it’s to say that this is what I want to have happen,” Rolland said. “These are the people that are going to receive our message, and it is God-driven.”

Rolland even thanked God for giving her the opportunity, which she said came at the most unsuspecting time.

Kelly Nelon Clark, a member of The Nelons, approached Rolland about a burglary that happened to Clark’s car, nearly a year after her house had been broken into.

“We were talking about heartbroken they were and how violated they felt from having that happen,” Rolland said.  “I said, ‘You know what, Satan meant to destroy you, God is going to use [those] to bless you.’”

Just hours after that conversation, Rolland said The Nelons were invited to sing at Arlington and asked her to join them.

“At that moment, we both just thought, ‘OK, what does that mean?’” Rolland said. “Never in their wildest dreams did they think that would ever happen.”

As for the person who broke into a family member of Clark’s home and car, Rolland believes they will receive the message.

“That little guy that stole from them at their house or from the car is going to come back around, and God is going to use The Nelons to touch every single soul,” she said. “He wants every voice to be heard.

“We see a blessing. We don’t see it yet, but we know there’s a blessing coming in all of that.”

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