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Holiday concert replaced by peace concert next month

Students at the Jordan/Jackson Elementary School in Mansfield will not perform their holiday concert this year, with the school opting instead for a January concert focused on peace and scheduled near Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

School Committee chairman Michael Trowbridge, who said such decisions are made by the school principal and not the School Committee, said his panel learned of the alternative plan at its Dec. 4 meeting.

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Trowbridge said the committee was told the decision had been prompted by about a half-dozen complaints that came in following last year’s concert, related to the religious content of some of the songs.

“There had been complaints from different faiths, but I think most of the songs are very generic,” Trowbridge said. “The School Committee was very disappointed. Everybody was in agreement that it was unfortunate we wouldn’t have the concert this year, but there’s nothing precluding it from happening next year.”

School Superintendent Brenda Hodges said there had been some complaints last year, but those did not prompt the decision for the change in the concert’s theme and date.

“It had been a talking point for a while,” Hodges said. “Our longtime music director, who loved the holiday season and the music around it, retired at the end of last year. Another music director is on board, and the decision was made for the January concert.”

The concert’s theme is peace, which Hodges said blends well with the school’s anti-bullying curriculum. Regarding last year’s complaints, Hodges said, “Some said there was too much religious music and some said there wasn’t enough. . . This wasn’t a knee-jerk reaction to complaints.”

Jordan/Jackson has co-principals. A secretary for Teresa Murphy referred all calls to the superintendent. The other co-principal, Kathleen Podesky, declined to comment.

Christine Legere cam be reached at christinelegere@yahoo.com.

Clarification: Kathleen Podesky, a co-principal at Jordan/Jackson Elementary School in Mansfield, declined to comment for this article. An earlier version of this article, written several days before publication, reported that she had not returned a call.

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