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High School Tries Compromise On ‘Silent Night’ Performance

December 14, 1995

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ A public school’s choirs will close their holiday concerts with ``Silent Night,″ but the lights won’t be dimmed and they can’t file out of the auditorium humming the carol.

Fairview High School administrators have made their annual attempt to balance tradition with complaints the concerts are too religious to the exclusion of non-Christians.

``The micromanagement of this issue is ridiculous,″ said Jeff Bradley, the parent of a choir student.

Bradley supports the diversity of the programs scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday nights, but said: ``This sounds like a Monty Python skit on paper. Maybe this whole thing should be called `Bureaucrats We Have Heard on High.‴

Religious activities in public schools across the nation have been the subject of many court cases, but debate still rages over the requirements of the First Amendment. A presidential directive this fall sought to clarify the right to public expressions of faith in schools, which conservatives want ensured with a constitutional amendment.

Ron Revier, who has directed choirs at Fairview for 25 years, started the tradition of the ``Silent Night″ recessional in 1972. But in 1992, administrators decided the recessional resembled a religious ritual and had to stop.

Last year, the choirs were told they could no longer close the program with ``Silent Night.″ In protest, the audience began humming the carol, and the students joined in as they left the auditorium.

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