Wausau Music Committee Meets for the First Time

It all began last October, when word got out the Wausau School District was putting a limit on the number of religious songs sung at concerts.

A huge controversy followed, and eventually the school board ordered the district to go back to the previous policy.

The group put together to come up with some direction on the issue met for the first time.

It was a very different dynamic Tuesday night compared to some of the tense meetings last fall.

The 20-person committee is on a mission to find a permanent policy on what's been a hot button issue.

About 20 people are together now to talk music, some being local educators, parents, students, clergy people and administrators.

"We have a very diverse group of people who came together, established some ground rules, put together some history and expressed where everyone is coming from," Nell Anderson, of the Wausau School District, said.

The committee did ice breakers to begin with to get to know each other, and then they got to the hot topic: religious music.

"Religion in general is very personal," community member Maysee Herr said. "It's not like many things. It's very sensitive. It's about more than an educational component."

The committee will have four meetings within the next month and a half. The goal: to put together a policy for the school board to make the final decision.

Wausau East Activities Director Dan Hein brought up that no one person should have to make the decision on music selection, like in previous policies when the principal did it

"No one should be on an island," Hein said. "They can be questioned. Their question can be legitimate. Does that mean your wrong? Not all the time."

Others voiced just because music courses are electives in the high school, the students should be able to perform no matter what.
"She just wants to sing," Yumiko Senanayake, whose daughter sings in the Master Singers. "The selection of the music is an adult thing. My daughter just wants to sing."

How much was actually accomplished in this first meeting may be up for debate, but one thing is for certain: the committee agreed the main goal should be balance.

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