A video capturing a children’s choir singing the national anthem inside the U.S. Capitol went viral on social media, as it showed the performance being abruptly interrupted by police.
According to Capitol Police, the Rushingbrook Children’s Choir from Greenville, South Carolina, was stopped on May 26 due to a miscommunication.
Performing musical pieces within the revered halls of Congress necessitates obtaining permission, and the police clarified that their officers were unaware of the choir’s approval from the House speaker.
However, the Capitol Police refuted the claims made by choir leaders, asserting that the interruption was not motivated by concerns of potential offensiveness.
Choir director David Rasbach and Micah Rea, a choir leader who helped organize the trip, told The Associated Press that they worked with the offices of Reps.
William Timmons, Joe Wilson and Russell Fry, all Republicans from South Carolina, to get permission for the performance.
They said they were informed the visit was approved by the office of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
After stopping by Wilson’s office for photos, the group went on a tour of the Capitol that ended in Statuary Hall, famous for housing a collection of statues donated by each of the 50 states, where the choir began to perform.
A visitor guide asked if they had permission for the show, Rasbach and Rea said, and told them they could start singing once he conferred with someone else.
Video shows the children concluding the first verse of the anthem as onlookers applauded. But as they started another verse, an officer can be seen talking with Rea and another man. About a minute later, a man identified as a staffer for Wilson approached Rasbach to stop the singing.
“When they stopped us and I walked over to the Capitol Police I said, ‘Why are you stopping us?’” Rasbach said. “They said, ‘Because this is considered a demonstration and we don’t allow demonstrations in the Capitol.’”