“Although popup demonstrations and musical performances are not allowed in the U.S. Capitol without the proper approval, due to a miscommunication, the U.S Capitol Police were not aware that the Speaker’s Office had approved this performance,” the U.S. Capitol Police now say.
“We apologize to the choir for this miscommunication that impacted their beautiful rendition of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ and their visit to Capitol Hill,” they said in an email.
A viral clip shows the Rushingbrook Children’s Choir singing Francis Scott Key’s song, inspired by the persistence of American forces against the British during the War of 1812, in the building’s Statuary Hall—itself recently transformed by ideology after Virginia removed a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in 2020.
Rushingbrook Children’s Choir were singing the National Anthem in Statuary Hall in the US Capitol when they were interrupted by Capitol police.
A representative from the choir was told that “certain Capitol police said it might offend someone/cause issues.” pic.twitter.com/3J8BSBsBSu
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) June 2, 2023
Suddenly, the conductor, David Rasbach, is approached by a man who whispers something to him. Rasbach cuts off the performance before the children can deliver the song’s final line: “For the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Multiple lawmakers had helped to organize the miniature concert.
In a joint statement, Timmons, Wilson, Rep. Russell Fry (R-S.C.), and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). denounced the incident and confirmed McCarthy granted permission.
“We recently learned that schoolchildren from South Carolina were interrupted while singing our National Anthem at the Capitol. These children were welcomed by the Speaker’s office to joyfully express their love of this nation while visiting the Capitol, and we are all very disappointed to learn their celebration was cut short,” the lawmakers said in a statement provided to The Epoch Times on June 2.
When provided with the viral clip and Rasbach’s account, the U.S. Capitol Police disputed nothing except the notion that they claimed “The Star-Spangled Banner” could offend someone.
“This is considered to be a demonstration, and that is not allowed in the Capitol,” Rasbach was told.
Rasbach says parents were “outraged” when they learned the performance had been shut down as a “demonstration,” with one calling the situation “tyranny.”
The choir director says he told his children to depart with dignity, avoiding undue displays of negative emotion.
“They ALL obeyed beautifully!” Rasbach said in his written recollection.
He says he went up to the same officer again, who informed him “there were complaints” about the singing.
A web page for Rushingbrook states its mission is “to awaken and develop in Christian young people their God-given musical ability, to nurture a sense of artistry in singing, and to do all for the glory of God.”