Sunday, July 01, 2018

Youth CUE Nation's Capital Festival Choir performs at major DC church

The nationwide choral group "The 2018 YouthCUE Nation’s Capital Festival Choir" performed at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC on Sunday, July 1, 2018.

During the Choral Prelude the group performed, with piano accompaniment, “Hallelujah Amen” by Handel (very brief Messiah excerpt), “In the Middle of a Journey” by Randy Edwards, and “Exsultate, Jubilate Deo” by Ruth Morris Gray.  Then there was a brief setting of the Zambian folksong “Bonse Asa”.

This may be the arrangement of Victor C. Johnson.  I made a brief recording but did not post it on YouTube out of copyright concerns (instead I embedded a performance already posted and vetted, probably by ContentID).  There is a good question to answer when folk music is used.  The actual tune is usually in public domain;  but adaptation of folk music is very common in classical music and the adaptation is usually transformative enough to warrant copyright protection.  This issue becomes even more important now that the European Union is seriously considering tightening its Copyright Directive with mandatory automated screening of videos before posting (the Article 13 issue). 
The group joined the FBC choir with an anthem, “An Awakening” by Walker Robson, and later a Choral Offertory adapted by Greg Gilpin, “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?” (the Lion’s Den).  There were two Communion Anthems, “The Plans I Have for You” and “Prayer of St. Francis”, both by Allen Pote.
The Church now publishes a detailed acknowledgement of every hymn used in the service, crediting both the composer (or transcriber) of the music and author of the words. 
The church music industry is actually quite strict on copyrights and has a system of collecting royalty payments for hymns that appear in hymnals. I believe the organization that runs this is in Cleveland (I’ve seen it mentioned in some church service programs in Texas).  It is common for many hymn tunes to come from classical music (especially English composers, like Parry).  This is also common in Hollywood;  quotes of obscure classical works used to have a way of winding up in film scores, or they used to, until Leonard Bernstein came along in the 60s and made less commonly played symphonies by Mahler, Nielsen, Prokofiev, etc. more common to the public.  It’s rather common for an obscure postromantic work (by someone like D’Albert, Dohnanyi, Stenhammar, Amy Beach, or even Schoenberg) to sound familiar at first hearing, and I suspect that is one reason.

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