Wednesday, July 15, 2020
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Music selections at graduation ceremony questioned

School board members in Rich Township High School District 227 in Matteson, Ill., thought the band at one school should have selected better songs for the graduation ceremony, the Southtown Star reports.

The band director at Rich East High School in Park Forest, Dwayne Sanders, was dismissed at a May 7 board meeting, because participation in the band program is very low and the district is suffering other attendance and financial problems. However, in quick action at a special meeting of the board on May 10, he was reinstated.

Rich East should not be without a band,” the paper quoted board President Cheryl Coleman as saying as the motion was considered.

At the May 19 ceremony, the band played a medley that included “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” by the Temptations, which features lyrics about a father who drinks, steals, and has children with multiple women. The band also played “My Girl” by the Temptations, which another board member, Betty Owens, told the paper was inappropriate for the circumstances.

“Our children deserve better,” the Southtown Star quoted board member Emanuel Imoukhuede as saying. “I resent that our children should be placed under such duress.”

Ms Coleman said several people had told her the band program at Rich East was suffering, with instruments in bad states of repair and uncertainty over the employment of Mr Sanders as the school’s band director.

Neither article reported why Mr Sanders chose the songs he did, and I tried to reach him by email. He has not responded to my requests.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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