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School Officials: No Religious Christmas Carols

December 16, 1987

BOSTON (AP) _ Wellesley High School has banned singing of religious Christmas carols at a holiday concert, and some students say the move is rife with ″bah humbug.″

″I think it’s an absolute tragedy,″ said Adrienne Leicester, student council president and a participant in the concert.

The ban was made at the recommendation of the Holiday Guidelines Committee, a group of students, parents and administrators established after complaints were made about last year’s Christmas concert.

The committee recommended to Superintendent Karla DeLetis that holiday activities at the high school, located in an affluent suburb about 10 miles west of Boston, be more sensitive to people of all faiths.

This year, the winter concert Dec. 20 will not include such standards as ″Silent Night,″ ″O Come All Ye Faithful″ or ″Joy To The World.″

Rather, it will include ″Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,″ ″Sleigh Ride″ and ″In These Delightful Pleasant Groves.″

Administrators did agree to let students end the program by performing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s ″Messiah″ because the piece traditionally ends winter concerts, said Sandra Nicolucci, the school system’s music director.

DeLetis said she recommended to school officials that holiday activities be ″more respectful of and sensitive to″ a variety of religions and cultures. She also suggested classroom discussions on how religions and cultures differ.

At the recommendation of the committee, the school also eliminated its annual Christmas door and hallway decorating contest. The committee pointed out that many of the decorations have had crosses and Nativity scenes.

Nicolucci said she discussed with DeLetis how to conduct this year’s winter concert, and decided it ″needed a festive air about it without getting so religious-oriented.″

″In years past, I don’t think we recognized the emotional pressure put on kids when the holiday of the majority is celebrated,″ Nicolucci said. ″There’s been a lot of consciousness-raising here, and it’s been healthy.

″Our intentions were inclusive rather than exclusive.″

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