The comments are pretty interesting..........
By Meredith Hines-Dochterman
Marion High School Principal Greg Thomas pulled Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" from the May 31 commencement exercises after receiving complaints from the public.
Thomas said he received "several" calls last week from people in the community to objected to the song.
"The song references suicide, murder and things such as that," Thomas said.
The callers didn't think it was an appropriate choice for a graduation ceremony.
Marion seniors nominated several songs for commencement exercises, with students voting for their favorites. The high school choir director, Sarah Cosgrove, has the final say.
Thomas said he didn't learn of the Class of 2009's selection until the first phone call. He made the decision to pull the song Friday. Cosgrove was informed Monday.
Several students attended Monday night's school board meeting to address the issue. Board members did not take action.
Charles C. Haynes, a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, said it isn't unusual for schools to limit student selections.
"Sometimes it's about a play being presented or a song in a talent show," Haynes said.
If the issue is pursued legally, courts traditionally defer to school leaders' judgment.
"When it's the curriculum, when it's a school-sponsored event, it's much more difficult (for students to challenge the decision)," Haynes said.
"Bohemian Rhapsody" was written by Freddie Mercury for Queen's 1975 album "A Night at the Opera." The song includes three references to Bismillah, "In the name of Allah."
"I did not make a decision based on religion," Thomas said. "The decision was based on the song's references to murder and suicide."
Students will sing songs they have performed earlier this year to replace "Bohemian Rhapsody." The choirs other song choice, "Imagine" by John Lennon, will still be part of the graduation ceremony.
"There are some people not happy with 'Imagine,'" Thomas said.
Marion's senior class has about 175 students. Thomas said his goal is to make graduation a positive and memorable experience for each student. link
There will always be "a few" somewhere,sometime who will object about something. "Several calls" does not a majority make. If any of those calls were anonymous they should not be counted.You don't get it both ways. Stand up and be counted.
Bohemian Rhapsody is considered one of the most beautiful,incredibly complex --especially for the technology of the time--pieces of music in the world. It often takes an entire Choir of voices to achieve what Freddie Mercury was able to do with his one incredible voice. He was usually classified as a "Leggiero Tenor" singing F2-F5 up to E6 in or out of falsetto. His voice ranked him as one of the greatest vocalists in the history of music! A major testament to his enduring talents 18 yrs after his death. That these students chose his work, this work ,which rides the crest of musical history,is a testament to their own aspirations. Bravo to them. Don't back down for anyone who says "NO" to you now,students of Marion or you will back down all your lives to life's little difficulties encountered.
While Imagine is a lovely piece of work by John Lennon it will never achieve the level of brilliance of Bohemian Rhapsody. GO FOR IT!!
Hasn't the thought of "killing" meaning in the song the demise of certain aspects of one's personality to make room for other new and different experiences and ideas to come into being, thus establishing a turning and crucial point in one's personal development, even occurred to the teacher? It has a symbolism which is suitable for students crossing over a threshold and overcoming a certain stage in their lives. A part, an important one, of their lives is gone, after all.
The song is only about suicide if one, I guess, sticks to the most raw, brutish and literal sense of words taken in isolation.
But then, if a teacher does indulge in such interpretation, or lack thereof, it's fair to say that graduation may indeed have something to do with murder and suicide. Poor students! lol
On a more serious note, though, they can't go wrong either way: both songs are just wonderful. :-)
Long life to good music - Bo Rhap and Imagine certainly preserve and highlight the importance and dignity of the occasion. :op
Cheers and thanks a lot for the interesting thread! Many, many thanks!