Wednesday, April 24, 2013

On the Fascinating Topic of High School Choirs

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," entertaining two or three people somehow since 2005! My name is Anne Johnson, and my home has suddenly grown to include another young lady. Since I have an Heir and a Spare (daughters), I call this young lady the Extra Chair, because we have to pull one up to the table when everyone's home to dinner.

But I digress.

When my daughter The Spare attended Snobville High, she sang in several excellent school choirs. Like everything else in Snobville, Spare's choir was chock-a-block with kids intending to major in vocal arts in college. You can't avoid this in Snobville. Give a kid a ball, he or she becomes an Olympian. Give them instruments, they wind up in the symphony. Give them a good camera, they become George Lucas (that's you, Spare ... get it done!).

Spare's choir teacher came to public school from a distinguished career as a church choir director. And so, inevitably, the Snobville Public High School Choir always sang at least two Christian numbers during the public school concerts. (Generally one was in Latin, one in English). During the Christmas holiday, a nod would be given to Judaism with some blast from the Old Testament.

And this boiled my blood. Not because the music wasn't pretty (it was), or well-done (it was), but because a public school choir should be held to the same First Amendment standards as every other aspect of public school. Music should be secular. It's not like one has to search dusty archives to find  chorus music with non-religious themes.

I used to complain about this to Spare. She would fix me with a disdainful eye and say it's no big deal. But to me it is. No one thinks about the First Amendment violations in school choir music. Suppose one or more of the singers were Pagans? Hardly seems fair.

If I ever go to a Snobville High choir concert and hear "Cantata in F Major for Flying Spaghetti Monster," I'll be satisfied.

Tonight is Extra Chair's annual high school choir performance. She attends the local parochial school. Now, you would surely expect a boatload of Latin-based Christian music at such a do ... and that's where it belongs. Extra Chair tells me that the program will consist of non-religious fare! Granted, E.C.'s English isn't perfected yet, but if I go to listen to a concert at Bonifice VIII School and there's no Latin, I'm going to be flabbergasted ... and more irate about Snobville High than ever.

The last time I went to a parochial school was when I was doing my night classes for teaching, an experience so wrenchingly foul that it still lingers like the last poison ivy blisters after a long bout of itching. Whew! Different school! Bring on the musty auditorium!

We'll see if the First Amendment prevails where it need not do so. What a world.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

Waiting with bated breath for your next report on what transpires at the parochial school concert . . . .

Anonymous said...

Are the Heir and the Spare pagans too?