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No response from Wausau School District over religious-music flap

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WAUSAU, Wis (WSAU)  An anticipated response from Wausau School Superintendent Kathleen Williams over religious music and holiday concerts hasn’t been released yet. The school district said a response to news reports about the controversy would be released Monday morning. At lunchtime Superintendent Williams remained behind closed doors at her office at the Longfellow Administration Building. It’s unclear when she’ll comment publicly.

On Friday it was reported that the Master Singers, an elite coral group at Wausau West High School, would be temporarily disbanded after a controversy over the music they’d perform at their holiday concerts. Music Director Phil Buch says the administration gave options of performing five non-religious songs for every religious song, have a concert with no holiday music, or postpone concerts past December. He said all of the options were unacceptable.

An on-line petition has been circulating in support of the Master Singers.

Earlier this year music teachers in the district were told to submit the songs they intended to have students perform at holiday concerts.

The source of this controversy is unclear. WSAU talk show host Jerry Bader reports that the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison, which has filed similar complaints in the past, is not the origin of this complaint. It is not known if the policy change is the result of a complaint from a parent, community member or outside group, of if it’s the result of an internal policy change within the district.

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