February 8, 2016

Wausau school board sets special meeting on music policy

Officials with the Wausau School District are taking steps to address changes in musical performance policies, which resulted in the temporary disbanding of a popular high school choir group and the possible end of concerts in elementary schools. The school board plans to hold a special meeting on Thursday to address the controversy.

In a statement, District Superintendent Kathleen Williams says she met with Wausau West choral music instructor Phil Buch to “discuss how the Master Singers winter performances can continue in a way that satisfies high musical quality and constitutional requirements.” The choir group suspended plans for several concerts around the holidays, after the policy change would have forced them to remove most of their songs that contain religious wording or themes.

Also in her statement, Superintendent Williams claims several earlier reports about the district’s holiday music policies have caused significant misunderstanding. One point that has upset the public and some school board members is a requirement to have five non-religious songs for every religious song in a school program. Williams met with music selection committee members Tuesday, and says, “No set ratio of religious songs versus non-religious songs was ever established as part of committee review.”

The special meeting of the school board is Thursday in the Wausau East High School Auditorium beginning at 6:30 p.m. The board and administration is expecting a large turnout and many public comments.


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