FHS Won’t be Singing Holiday Songs this Year–Here’s Why

Christmas and Hanukkah songs will no longer be sung at Frederick High School

This+year+at+Frederick+High+School%2C+choirs+will+not+be+allowed+to+sing+any+Christmas+or+Hanukkah+music%2C+in+accordance+with+federal+law.

Joshua Bailey

This year at Frederick High School, choirs will not be allowed to sing any Christmas or Hanukkah music, in accordance with federal law.

Joshua Bailey, Editor-in-Chief

Frederick High School will once again undergo further change in December. The traditional Christmas concert format, which has celebrated the holidays for years, will be abandoned in place for a winter-themed performance. None of the song selections included in the show will contain any religious words–both of Christian and Jewish descent. In addition, any songs that contain words such as “Christmas,” “Santa,” “Holiday,” or any words similar will be expunged.

Dr. Fox, principal of FHS, explains that “there is a federal law that prohibits the use of anything [religous], so we have to be in compliance with federal law with that. We have to be very careful as a school and as a district that we’re in compliance with federal law.”

Mr. Brown, director of the choirs at Frederick, further clarifies that “Any songs specific to religious holidays are expressly forbidden during the month of December.” Brown also notes that “any song with the word Christmas in the title is encouraged not to be used.”

Not to be excluded from these new changes, band and orchestra will be adjusting their music selections as well, according to Fox. He explains that “As a first-year principal I told Mr. Brown, ‘this is a good time to make sure we are doing everything by the book.’”

Brown, who has been put in a difficult position, has had to readjust the traditional holiday songs to a winter-themed performance. “We have chosen to do a concert based on music and songs that reflect on wintertime. There are some tunes people will recognize that really have no specific mention of holidays but are sung during this time.”

Brown further explains that “We are trying hard to not celebrate any specific culture or religion as it may be offensive to others. In the past, FHS has always been inclusive of all of our cultures and celebrations, but as society continues to evolve, we continue to fear offending even one person, as it is very easy to do in our present climate. The district is doing its best to avoid these situations.”

Typically, at the end of every holiday concert in years past, the performance is capped off by singing “We wish you a Merry Christmas.” That tradition has been cut from the concert this year.

According to Brown, some parents have disagreed with the new changes. “I have had several parents who feel that this is censorship and are upset by the disregard for their community and its traditions. I have directed them to speak to Dr. Fox first and foremost. From there they will have to go where their consciences lead them,” Brown says.

Fox concurs with Mr. Brown. “Students and parents are always welcome to reach out to me. I have talked to hundreds of community members and parents. For some, it’s a heavy change. Others have also expressed that this is overdue. There are valid reasons on both sides. For people that have emotions about this–it all comes from a good place. It’s good that people are passionate about Frederick.”