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Wausau school officials say change in policy application pushed debate over religious music


WAUSAU, Wis (WSAU) - Wausau School officials say an change in policy application is the cause for the dissolution of the Master Singers at Wausau West.

In a statement released today by the district, officials say the district asked the leader of the Master Singers to modify his scheduled song list while making trips around the community. "District legal counsel has advised that public school districts are generally prohibited from sponsoring Christmas caroling in connection with the religious celebration of Christmas."

Officials say that the district has been meeting to moderate the number of religious songs in the concert schedule, and that the district cannot be found to be unconstitutionally endorsing the religious aspect of the Christmas holiday. "The Wausau School District will continue to take necessary steps to comply with its legal obligations under the U.S. Constitution and otherwise. The District will also strive to ensure that we are respectful of the backgrounds and beliefs of all of our students and their families."

On Friday it was reported that the Master Singers, an elite chorale 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.

The district's committee on holiday music will be meeting tomorrow night to go over the matter with the Master Singers.