Editor’s note: The man talking to the choir director was one of the guides who was told by the Capitol police to walk over and stop the choir immediately.
In a shocking turn of events, the Rushingbrook Children’s Choir was interrupted and stopped while singing the National Anthem in Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol.
The children, part of the esteemed Rushingbrook Children’s Choir, had traveled to Washington, D.C. last Friday, May 26th, for a scheduled Capitol tour and had received prior approval to sing a short set of patriotic songs inside the historic Statuary Hall.
However, as their angelic voices filled the grand hall while they sang The Star-Spangled Banner with pride, one of the guides intervened, as he was told by the Capitol police that the children stop singing immediately. The abrupt interruption stunned the young performers, the choir director, and the assembled audience.
The Capitol Police did not allow the young children to finish the song and sought to explain to the choir director that singing the national anthem at the nation’s Capitol is considered a form of demonstration and/or might offend someone.
Here’s another video:
The moment a children’s choir singing at the #uscapitol was told to stop singing the U.S. National Anthem during the second verse. They had been given permission to sing prior to a higher up deciding our nation’s anthem in our nation’s capitol was offensive.
No, seriously, when… pic.twitter.com/ygHnB4gjQ5
— The Overton Report (@overton_the) May 26, 2023
From Debbie Baughman Davis: “Here’s the video we took of the singing in the Statuary Hall. In this one, you can see when the security officers start getting agitated and discussing what to do. ETA: In retrospect, after watching this video, I believe this was just one security officer. The man in the blue suit is our accompanist’s son who helped organize this trip.”
South Carolina’s representatives, Joe Wilson, and William Timmons, were involved in granting the choir approval to enter the Capitol and had given their support to the performance.
Congressman Joe Wilson, although unable to attend the event himself, expressed his disappointment upon learning of the incident. He promptly engaged with his staff to resolve the matter, but unfortunately, no immediate resolution was reached at the time.
“We’ve been stopped in the middle of the Star Spangled Banner while here in the Capitol even though we were approved for this concert,” said Christina Chapman Heffernan.
“Certain Capitol police said it might offend someone/cause issues. We respect authority but we should have been allowed to sing because of the multi-level approval we already got from 3 representatives involved,” she added.
“The visit and Choir performance was all planned and approved… but it’s possible that there was some type of “permit” or communication mixup,” said Matthew Leys who was present during the incident.
“Either way… the kids sang brilliantly; Capitol Police not even letting them complete the song and trying to explain that singing the Anthem could be considered a form of protest is telling and embarrassing; when you need a permit to sing your National Anthem in your nation’s Capitol, something’s gone wrong,” he added.
The incident raises concerns about the necessity for a permit to sing the National Anthem, a symbol of unity and national pride, within the very halls that represent American democracy.
One concerned citizen commented, “You are U.S. citizens in a public place exercising the right of free speech. Stopping the kids from signing the national anthem is no different than stopping you from waving the U.S. Flag. You were clearly denied constitutional rights—an issue you can sue in civil court over.”
The incident is now under investigation. Efforts are underway to gather further information surrounding the interruption and address the incident properly.
“We’re working on gathering info for now. We’d gotten permission from some SC congressmen and had also gotten it cleared by the Speaker of the House’s office. Once we have more info, we’ll know better how to proceed,” said Debbie Baughman Davis when asked who to address about this appalling interruption by Capitol police.
SC State House Representative Adam Morgan issued a statement regarding the incident, “The fact that our National Anthem could ever be considered “offensive” in our nation’s Capital is a stinging reminder of the challenges we face as a Republic…”
Read the updates below:
Hat Tip Andy Schlafly