A Wisconsin Choral Directors Association member said he thinks the Wausau School District is going "overboard" in limiting religious music selections.
Kevin Meidl said around 85 percent of all choral music written is based on a sacred text, and preventing children from learning the finest music written in the last 400 years seems "wrong."
Marathon High School Band Director Sara Sternberg, who has taught at Marathon for six years and 14 years in all, said when choosing music for her concerts, nearly half have some sort of religious aspect.
"I've done Hanukkah selections and African Christmas carols," Sternberg said. "I really try to keep it educational for the kids and interesting, so it's not the same old stuff."
She said when choosing music for her band, she follows the Wisconsin School Music Association standards.
"We're doing it (playing music) for the musicality," Sternberg said. "We're teaching the kids different nationalities of music and different genres."
The recent suggestions from a legal counsel presented to the Wausau School District about religious music selection have sparked conversations of how music plays a role in children's learning in our community.
Executive Director at the Wausau Conservatory of Music Paula Clark said religion is a touchy situation and how we all decide to go forward to embrace it and celebrate it through music will be an interesting journey.
"The Wausau School District is in an interesting position right now," Clark said. "It's trying to sort through all of that."
A choral group is disbanded amid the controversy in Wausau.
"Religious music is only a piece of the puzzle of all the styles of music to learn," Clark said. "It's difficult to to watch how you draw that line."
Where to draw the line may be up for discussion for some districts, but for Sternberg, she said it's easy to choose as long as there's balance.
"I try to choose things that are No. 1, educational for my students, and No. 2, entertaining for them to play," Sternberg said.
NewsChannel 7 tried to all several other schools in central and north central Wisconsin, and nobody would comment on the issue.
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