Juilliard students stage musical counter-protest to Westboro Baptist anti-arts protest

Posted on: November 4, 2016

“Three members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church, known for disrupting soldiers’ funerals with chants and signs displaying gay slurs, were met by a crowd of singing, instrument-playing students outside New York City’s Juilliard School November 3,” writes Robert Viagas on Thursday (11/3) at Playbill.com. “The number of students varied from 60 to nearly 100 during the hour-long protest…. Students held signs or watched as a group of them played songs including ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’ ‘When the Saints Go Marching In,’ and ‘Amazing Grace,’ though a small number also shouted at the WBC protesters…. A dozen police … monitored the protest. Shirley Phelps Roper, daughter of the church’s founder, was one of the protesters. She said the group chose Juilliard, which is ranked as one of the top music academies in the world, because, ‘This is the heart and soul of the arts community.’ … She carried a variety of signs attacking homosexuality, Jews, and the media, but none attacking Juilliard or musicians  … [The church] organized its protest on its website, explaining, ‘If you had taught those children to invest 5% of the energy they use for the vanity called “The Arts”, America would not be leading the world in racing to destruction.’ ”

Posted November 4, 2016

In photo: Students at the Juilliard School in New York City used music to counter an anti-art protest by the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church on November 3. Photo: Playbill.com.