Thursday, December 17, 2009

Winter Concert

First, no, I'm not one of those Christians who bitches about Christmas being hijacked or murdered or whatever ridiculous rhetoric they use.

BUT - I'm the much rarer breed of someone who's observant and likes to consider how we handle deeply-held beliefs (and virtues, and vices, and prejudices) in a pluralistic society. To me, it is the most interesting, challenging and potentially ennobling thing about our American experiment in pluralism, tolerance, and respect. So here goes!

There seems to have been a shift in the ethos of how our town's public school handles the Winter Concert. (I have no idea if there were problems or a change in personnel.) In previous years, their strategy seemed to be to have to perform mostly Christmas songs (mostly of a decidedly secular nature - Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, etc., and not Ave Maria or Silent Night), one of which would be in Spanish; a couple Hanukkah songs (again, pretty secular - I think every one I remember was about dreadles); and a Kwanzaa song. Perfectly fine with me, in the kind of eclectic, "buffet" model of pluralism. Their "solution" this year struck me as a little less satisfactory. It was only a couple Christmas songs (in those annoying medley forms), and then most everything else had nothing to do with anything related to the winter solstice. One song was about winter winds; one was in Spanish but wasn't Christmas themed, that I could tell. It felt odd, listening to mangled versions of jazz and those generic songs like we used to play in marching band, with titles like "Aztec Gold."

So, tentatively, I guess I'd say I like pluralism better when it celebrates (some of) the various traditions that go into the mix, rather than a bland attempt to ignore anything that might be deemed too specific to one group.


Blogger thatjeffcarter said...

I attended my daughter's Christmas concert the other night - and surprisingly - all the songs were explicitly Christian Christmas songs....

12:11 PM  

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