A shout out to the wonderful performance by the Brien McMahon choral group at the Rowayton Holiday Stroll this early December. Their harmonies were beautifully in tune, the balance was almost always perfect, and all this in the challenging environment of an outdoor performance.
A couple of things:
- I know this is an outdoor gathering of the community. But when our children sing, shouldn’t we listen? I won’t mention the fire truck siren that drowned out part of the performance (oops, I did!), but the level of crowd noise was rude, and a horrible example for the many young children in attendance.
- I have no idea what this group is called. The name is not anywhere in anyone’s literature, including the McMahon School’s music website. When a school group contributes to the community, it might be acknowledged. C’mon, McMahon – toot your own horn!
- Please note that the singing was beautiful, and I don’t want to diminish that. But it appears that taxpayer dollars paid for a school program to share sacred music. (Maybe this was a volunteer group that met outside of school time, and the conductor volunteered his free time – I don’t know.) This raises questions about separation of church and state. I’m really torn about this, because we all love the tunes. But in a pluralistic society that is increasingly diverse, educators should lean heavily toward more secular, festive winter selections. I’m not a Grinch – I love the spirit of the holidays, and the value of community singing, but also value our democracy and the foundations under which it was created. Sacred songs are more appropriately performed outside school-sponsored performances.