May 11, 2010

We Write The Songs

Congressional leaders hear great songs and songwriters in Washington, DC

On May 11, The ASCAP Foundation and the Library of Congress jointly celebrated the first anniversary of The ASCAP Collection at the Library of Congress – the gift by The ASCAP Foundation of documents, photos, sheet music and other artifacts.

For the second straight year, a musical concert at the Library's Coolidge Auditorium called "We Write the Songs" served as a living illustration of what The ASCAP Collection at the Library of Congress represents – the creative efforts of the men and women behind American Popular Music.

Participating in the show, introduced by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, was a diverse group of ASCAP songwriter members: Jessi Alexander, Alan Bergman, Tracy Chapman, Dion DiMucci, Albert Hammond, J.D. Souther and Bill Withers (joined by his daughter, Kori, and Broadway star Elisabeth Withers); and ASCAP Foundation Board members Hal David and Wayland Holyfield. ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams served as Master of Ceremonies. A number of Senators and Congressional Representatives joined in to introduce the performers from the stage: Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr (D-MI) were also present to offer special remarks. "We Write the Songs" treated the capacity crowd of Washington legislative and cultural dignitaries to an evening of classic songs and the stories behind their creation.

Walking the Halls

On the day after the Library of Congress event, ASCAP Board members, along with other ASCAP members who traveled to DC, visited with elected officials to express their concerns about copyright protection. In addition to walking the halls of Congress for scheduled meetings with a number of legislators, the ASCAP group also heard remarks on music-related matters at a Capitol Hill luncheon from three U.S. Senators: Bob Corker (R-TN), Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Al Franken (D-MN). The trip wrapped up with a dinner addressed by the Honorable Victoria Espinel, United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.