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Oct 19, 2011 11:33 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Winter Concert Song Selection Sparks Debate In Remsenburg Speonk

Oct 19, 2011 12:54 PM

At least one Remsenburg-Speonk Board of Education member would like to hear a bona fide Christmas carol during the elementary school’s winter concert this December.

At the board’s regular monthly meeting on Monday night, member John Kern said he had been contacted by a number of individuals about a matter that has some people feeling a tad Grinch-like about the annual winter songfest.

“It’s a sensitive issue,” Mr. Kern said. “It’s about calling it a ‘winter’ versus a ‘holiday’ concert. Most people want to recognize that it is the holiday season, with at least one secular Christmas carol—a holiday carol—sung at the concert.”

To that end, Mr. Kern said he plans to introduce a resolution proposing that the name of the event be changed from the school’s “winter concert” to a “holiday concert” when the board next meets on Monday, November 14, at 8 p.m.

Mr. Kern noted that, a few years ago, “Silent Night” was sung at the concert, adding that the selection created a beautiful moment for audience members.

Fellow School Board member Lisa Fox said that Michelle Quigg, the director of music at the elementary school, always tries to put something on the musical agenda for everyone. “Ms. Quigg does her very best,” she said. “You can never make everyone happy.”

Ms. Fox then suggested the board take a look at concert programs from recent years, when she said that holiday songs were part of the program, to assuage any fears that holiday selections are not being fairly represented.

“If they’re going to sing about dreidels and Hanukkah, they should be able to sing at least one holiday song,” Mr. Kern said.

“We should strive to be balanced,” added School Board President Kevin Federico.

Remsenburg-Speonk School Superintendent Dr. Ronald Masera said he and the board would discuss the matter with Ms. Quigg.

In other news, the board agreed to spend up to $8,900 to repair a section of the school’s roof that was damaged during Hurricane Irene. After receiving three estimates, the board agreed to transfer the money from the district’s general fund to a roof repair fund; members said they want to put an end to the “piecemeal” patchwork repairs that have recently been done.

Dr. Masera said the board has held off on replacing the entire roof because it had hoped that taxpayers would have approved a $5.7 million bond in December that would have financed school-wide renovations and expansion. After taxpayers rejected the bond, Dr. Masera said it was time to move forward with the repair. He said the work will proceed as soon as possible, adding that contractors will complete the roof repairs over the weekend so as not to interrupt classes.

“We really need it,” Mr. Federico said of the repairs.

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I am glad I am old enjoy to recall going to Christmas concerts at Remsenburg and Westhampton schools.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Oct 19, 11 1:34 PM
Not everyone is Christian; there are many other religions and holidays. To have 10 Christmas songs, 1 Hanukkah song, and 1 song for other religions is offensive and should not be allowed in a public arena.
By AFB (31), NYC/SH on Oct 20, 11 9:23 AM
Seriously??? Give me a break.
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Oct 25, 11 9:51 PM
It's a bunch of kids singing cute and happy songs. If you are offended by that then you need a real problem in your life.
By double standard (1506), Remsenburg on Oct 25, 11 9:52 PM
Thank you John Kern for saying what many of us are already thinking ;)
By brinewyork (1), Remsenburg on Nov 5, 11 9:08 AM