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Board member reacts to no holiday elementary concerts in Wausau


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - One of the changes announced by Wausau School District officials last Friday was the cancelling of the district’s elementary school winter programs.

That’s not a popular decision with one school board member. Matthew Young has children that were supposed to be in one of those programs. “Both of our children are students at Rib Mountain Elementary, and I was looking forward to seeing their winter concert, and found out last week that that’s not happening. Obviously, none of the parents I know of were contacted. This was something that was done outside of the school board and without consulting the parents & the community.”

As far as altering the music selections for the Wausau West Master Singers, Young believes the district should have worked together with music instructor Phil Buch. “He’s been around and dedicated his life to serving this community and teaching this community. I think we could have done a lot more to work with him and make sure that we got music that both he and the board could agree to, or the school district.”

Young is critical of Wausau dropping elementary music concerts so teachers can gain the time for other lessons, and he said the proof is next door. “D.C. Everest has not changed theirs. They’re are still having winter programs for their grade school kids. In standardized tests that have been published by the state, they do slightly better than us, so I don’t agree with it. I don’t think that you have to limit the children’s music to provide a quality education.”

Some say there are plenty of classical choral music selections to choose from that do not have a religious theme. Young says there are reasons to play certain songs, with or without religious themes. “I don’t see a problem with it as long as the music follows guidelines and is chosen on the merits of the music and not the religious aspects of it.”