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Letter: Dislikes HHS music rules

Dear Editor,

The St. Croix Valley Music Educators Association (SCVMTA) is a professional organization for teachers of private lessons for piano, voice, string and woodwinds. I am writing to voice the opinion of its members in regard to the article about Hudson High School's choral department and its inclusion of sacred music for education and performance.

We support the principle followed by Andy Haase and Kari Heisler to expose music students to choral compositions of the highest level of musical literature, whether sacred or secular, for educational purposes. As educators, we agree that students and audiences can be exposed to sacred music without influencing or disrespecting their personal religious orientation. Very little high quality secular music was written in past centuries, so to put restrictions on the use of sacred music puts limitations on the understanding of the history of excellent choral music.

We believe that asking the choral department to implement a 50/50 ratio of sacred and secular music for all their concerts is unjustifiable as there is substantial evidence of support to the teachers and the administration for their quality choices and outstanding literature now taught in the classroom. To our understanding, students and the community audience are extremely pleased with the music, sacred and secular, that is performed at their programs. There are usually always waiting lines for tickets to concerts, and the auditorium seats are filled!

We also believe that this ratio of 50/50 is potentially "ambiguous," who will be determining which is sacred versus secular? The definition of sacred is "regarded with great respect and reverence by a particular religion, group, or individual," and the definition of secular is "denoting attitudes, activities, or other things that have no religious or spiritual basis." We believe that these decisions belong to the highly qualified choral music teacher, who best understands how to skillfully blend music and learning. We desire the best for our students!

Mary Post, Hudson

On behalf of the 31 SCVMTA members