What do the Russian revolution, a high school football game, and an Adams County marching band have in common? Sounds like the beginning of a joke, but some parents aren't laughing about the halftime routine performed by the New Oxford High School band.
Some call it offensive and the school is apologizing.
To be fair, there are also plenty of people on the chat boards saying it's a bunch of high school kids expressing their creativity and working hard, so what's the fuss? But their performance, originally called “Saint Petersburg 1917” and featuring the music of Shostakovich, has some seeing red – literally.
It's a routine some say celebrates communism: military outfits, red flags, and a hammer and sickle. A conservative group is blasting the choice and doesn't blame the kids, but the adults who allowed it.
“This is very poor judgement,” said Jay Ostrich of the Commonwealth Foundation. “We're not calling on anybody to get fired, we're calling on taxpayers and parents to get fired up over some of the decisions being made in school districts on behalf of their children that do not reflect the values of that particular community.”
In a statement, the Conewago Valley School District apologized for any offense caused and said it understands people's concerns.
“It was never our intention to offend, but to present the musical importance of Shostakovich in this turbulent time of the world's history,” the district said. “This is a learning opportunity for not only our students who have learned about the revolution and its tragic consequences, but it is also a learning opportunity for us as teachers and administrators.”
The district also announced it will change the name of the routine to “The Music of Shostakovich” and has removed the hammer and sickle.
We should say congratulations to New Oxford because its routine won first place in last weekend's Cavalcade of Bands competition. Apparently, marching band judges were not offended.