Skip to comments.Wausau Schools Issue Edict to Limit Religious Music... At Christmas
Posted on 10/07/2013 7:35:19 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
Weve seen this play before havent we? Wausaus school district decides that there is way too much Christmas music during "holiday concerts" and issues a directive "to limit religious music in December." Too much Handel, Bach, Mozart for Wausau, apparently.
But this edict seems especially petty and, not surprisingly, there is considerable push back. The district's elite and very popular Master Singers choir decided to temporarily disband rather than comply with the religious cleansing order and a Facebook-based petition campaign to reverse the decision has caught fire.
From the Wausau Daily Herald:
WAUSAU A local high schools elite Master Singers choir group will temporarily disband and Wausau elementary schools will no longer hold holiday concerts as the result of a Wausau School District directive to limit religious music in December.
Phil Buch, who has directed Wausau West High Schools choral programs since 1981, said the decision to halt rehearsals for the Master Singers was made after a meeting Thursday with district officials and Frank Sutherland, an attorney who represents the school district.
Buch said district administrators gave music educators at Wausau schools three options for December concerts, which typically contain a significant amount of religious music: choose five secular, or non-religious, songs for each religious song performed; hold a concert and have no holiday music whatsoever; or postpone any concerts in December. Because the 20-member Master Singers group is invited to sing at nearly a dozen holiday concerts each year, Buch said, those options were unacceptable.
"This group sings at Christmas programs," Buch said. "We sing for nursing homes, grade schools, businesses. To do that without Christmas music doesnt make sense."
The "too much religious music" edict apparently has the support of at least one school board member, who appears to drink deep from the cup of"diversity."
District administrators did not return calls Friday seeking information about the rules, but Wausau School Board President Michelle Schaefer said the change in direction stems from legal concerns over the amount of religious music performed in the schools. The decision will not eliminate religious music altogether but will give teachers a better idea as to how much religious music is "too much," Schaefer said.
"From a School Board perspective, we look for music that is balanced," Schaefer said. "Yes, we are a predominantly Christian society, but we are also a society of many faiths, and we want to respect that."
That "respect" has resulted the shut-down of all of the holiday concerts in the citys elementary schools.
The 15 elementary schools in the Wausau School District have jointly decided to cancel all winter concerts.[School Board member Patrick] McKee said holiday songs sung by elementary school students such as "Frosty the Snowman" and "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" dont have religious themes, and the schools canceling those concerts because of backlash concerns him.
What about the legal concerns the district is citing? Heres the puzzling part because there really don't seem to be any valid ones. The Daily Herald cites some of the legal history from the National Association of Music Educators:
In 1978, Roger Florey, the father of an elementary school student, complained about the use of the hymn, "Silent Night," in a Christmas program in Sioux Falls, S.D. An avowed atheist, Forey contended that the schools performance violated the doctrine of separation of church and state. In December 1978, Floreys motion for an injunction was denied. The case was appealed to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, which in 1980 upheld the Sioux Falls school policy allowing religious songs for educational purposes.
In 1995, U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Greene dismissed a lawsuit filed by a 15-year-old girl over Christian songs performed by her choir at Salt Lake Citys West High School. The teen, Rachel Bauchman, claimed the songs represented prayers and violated her constitutional rights. The court rejected Bauchmans argument and said that music "has a purpose in education beyond the mere words or notes in conveying a mood, teaching cultures and history, and broadening understanding of arts and that the selection of the music had a primarily secular purpose of teaching music appreciation."
Supporters of the choir (and First Amendment) have launched an online petition campaign to reverse the edict:
"We the undersigned disagree with the recent Wausau School District decision to create a quota regarding music (Wausau Daily Herald online news10/4/14: "5 secular songs to every sacred song" used in Wausau schools music departments and/or concerts). This decision appears to be unreasonable censorship, anti-intellectual, and an unwarranted attack on people of faith.
"The history of education has always sided against censorship. We want our children to be exposed to the worlds great musicand an inordinate amount of that music is sacred. Wise education embraces this truth and celebrates it: rather than seeking censorship and revisionist history. In addition, this decision appears to undermine one of Wausaus greatest treasures: a music department and tradition that is outstanding. We respectfully ask that you suspend this decision immediately and reconsider it at an open forum where our communitys wishes can be heard and followed."
Some of the comments on the Facebook page capture the reaction in Wausau:
As a former student of Wausau West I am appalled at what the school board has nit-picked through the years. It seems as if though the school board is always looking in all the wrong areas when it comes to improvement. Maybe the school should focus more on their staff capturing the attention of students and inspiring them to further their education, instead of stifling enriching activities.
The only reason that Christian songs apear is because they were composed by the great! Handl, Bach, Mozart and many more. The fact is that these songs were composed in a time era when the church had control over everything. So of course the songs will be about God and Jesus. Its called history. Those peices are what music really is. Take them for what the musical aspect is. That's what Mr. Buch does.
As a student of his I have never once felt religion pushed on me. It sickens me that people such as yourself are singling him out for doing the best job that he can do.
As a former master singer my heart is broken. Master Singers is a community treasure. Mr Buch should be commended for his stand. Thank you Mr Buch for my experience and the lessons I learned. Not just the music, but the respect of ALL cultures and religions.
This whole thing makes my heart sad. We are one small step away from book burnings. People need to seriously think about what tolerance really means.
We shall not discriminate anyone based on religion" my ***.
It'd be faster.
Wausau halts Christmas music and elite choral singers disband
FReep Mail me if you want on, or off, this isconsin interest ping list.
Not only that, their newspaper won’t allow their stories to be posted at FRee Republic. I had to look for someplace else that this story was covered. No problem. It’s all over the Internet.
My question: what’s the matter with Wausau?
The former Soviet Union did away with God, too. He got in the way of forcing the masses to worship the state.
“”My question: whats the matter with Wausau?””
It’s David Obey’s hometown for one thing.
Dem Revolutionär Jesus zum Geburtstag (To the Revolutionary Jesus on His Birthday)--Ernst Busch
it’s easier not to be wise
and measure these things by your brains
I sank into Eden with you
alone in the church by and by
I’ll read to you here, save your eyes
you’ll need them, your boat is at sea
your anchor is up, you’ve been swept away
and the greatest of teachers won’t hesitate
to leave you there, by yourself, chained to fate
I alone love you
I alone tempt you
I alone love you
fear is not the end of this!
it’s easier not to be great
and measure these things by your eyes
we long to be here by his resolve
alone in the church by and by
to cradle the baby in space
and leave you there by yourself chained to fate
oh, now, we took it back too far,
only love can save us now,
all these riddles that you burn
all come runnin’ back to you,
all these rhythms that you hide
only love can save us now,
all these riddles that you burn yeah, yeah, yeah
It’s a Peoples’ Republic?
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Please ping me to note-worthy Pro-Life or Catholic threads, or other threads of general interest.
Just sing away! What will they do? Rather than wine about it, just do it!
A school like this should be in session on dec 25 so as to avoid celebrating a religious holiday,
One day people will wake up...but it may be too late.
Freedom of speech to a liberal: you agree with them
Freedom of religion to a liberal: you worship the state (or them).
Sadly for the liberal,
Words have meaning. Words provoke thought.
Liberals are deathly afraid of free thinkers.
Hats off to the Master Singers for having the guts to stand up to the new Anti-Americans. Their stand might help tip the power that the Marxist and Atheist Left have in Wisconsin.
Time for a NEW Wasau School District leadership.
Can they have a recall petition against these panty-waists and leftist fools>
How about some businesses putting up the money for the Master Singers to perform on their own, esp. at Old-Age Homes and in parks? Instruments might need to be provided too, but I’m sure that music stores can loan, donate, or have reduced group rates for renting what is needed.
Those who hate America know that religious music is a form of communication which must be sanitized or abolished at all costs.
I wonder if the White House is also going to abolish religious music and replace it with a reading, to music, of “The Thoughts of Chairman Mao”.
Last year they put a Mao Tse-tung christmas ball on the inside White House tree while a Red Chinese pianist played communist music. Must have given Obama maoist advisor Anita Dunn and former marxist “Green Czar” Van Jones, ideological orgasims.
This year should be a hoot.
When are people going to figure it out?
1) Abolish property taxes;
2) abolish government schools.
Ah, Live. They were my favorite band in high school. Too bad they split up, and too bad this school board is acting like idiots.
The Won would never share the TOTUS with a dead Chinese guy. The readings will be from Dreams of My Father read by The Won, himself! sarc/off
Today, I suppose if they marched naked through the hallways, tossing condoms and dildos to the the students while singing the "Internationale", it would be free speech and nuanced expressionism.
We are going to have to drop the gloves and decide whether or not we want to keep our country.
OMG, Duke! You are a product of Madison? My husband and I came from UC Berkeley. Your observations are right on the money!