Inspiring, educating and nurturing those who minister through music and the arts



Royalties for Spirituals Webinar: Our Use of Spirituals in Worship and How to Pay for Their Use

  • February 26, 2022
  • 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
  • Zoom
  • 158

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Negro Spirituals are iconic in the classic American songbook and have been widely used in performances, concerts and worship services for more than 150 years. The words and melodies have been woven into countless compositions for all of us to enjoy. But at what cost? These songs born out of the pathos of slavery have provided little if any monetary compensation to those who created them or their descendants. Is it appropriate for us to use this music today? What is our moral responsibility? In this webinar, we will explore what two congregations have done to address this issue and what you and your congregation can do. Join a panel discussion with these guests:

  • Susan DeSelms – Minister of Music at United Parish at Brookline, MA
  • Adam Waite – Minister of Music at Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church in Denver, Colorado
  • Dr. Emmett G. Price III – Dean of Africana Studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston and Visiting Associate Professor of Music at Harvard University
  • James Boratko – Moderator

This is a timely topic that received national media attention, including a story by National Public Radio featuring our three guests and a report on MSNBC that included Susan DeSelms. We are honored to offer their expertise to you.

The webinar is co-sponsored by the United Church of Christ Musicians Association (UCCMA) and the John P. Webster Library of the First Church of Christ, West Hartford, CT. Our moderator, James Boratko, is Director of Worship Arts at First Church West Hartford and a board member of UCCMA.

The webinar will take place via Zoom on Saturday, February 26 at 2:00 pm ET and is offered for free. A link to a recording of the webinar will be sent to all registrants in a follow-up email. Registration is limited to 500 and is open to all who are interested.

You will be invited to help defray the cost of this event when you register. Any proceeds beyond expenses will be donated to the Hamilton-Garrett Music and Arts Academy in Roxbury, MA. For donations larger than $50, go to our donations page.




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