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  • Christmas Concert or Holiday Concert?

    First, let me say my intent in making this post is not to disparage anyone's personal views. I'm simply venting my frustration. Please keep responses civil.

    I just left a meeting for one musical organization where I'm on the board. One of the first items raised by the new president (not on the agenda) was changing the name of our annual Christmas Concert (over 150 year tradition) to something else. When questioned, the president's response was that Christmas is a Christian holiday, and we need to be inclusive. Someone else questioned whether we need to change the names of some of the pieces since they contain the word, "Christmas" and her response was that was a ridiculous statement. They settled on Holiday Concert.

    Our city has a Festival of Lights parade (to celebrate Hanukah–not really a major Jewish holiday, but it's conveniently placed in December), and people are allowed to place lights in city hall windows. However, a crèche is not allowed. Yet our organization isn't supposed to use the word, "Christmas" because it's so offensive? Would they volunteer to give up that day and go back to work?

    I write the program notes for this musical organization, and am now faced with removing the offending word from the notes. Is this political correctness run amok? Where does it stop? I'm surprised people haven't dug up dirt on Presidents Washington and Lincoln so Presidents Day is no longer a holiday.

    Michael
    Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
    • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
    • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
    • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

  • #2
    When they find out what religious persuasion they were, they will.

    It's more than political correctness; it's an agenda. But it's not like we weren't warned. It's going to get worse. But then it'll get much better.

    Comment


    • #3
      Christmas Day is still ( for how long though ?! ) a federal holiday. People that are "offended" by the thought of hearing music that is related to the subject of Christmas have the unquestioned Right in this country to not attend the concert. What they do not have ( but desperately want ), is the Right to make the rest of the world think their way.

      I think that KC9UDX is exactly correct about it being an agenda. The political correctness thing is just a supposedly "nice" way of hiding what the real agenda is. It seems to me that the real agenda is denying in any, and every possible way, that God Almighty actually exists. That mankind ( guess that is not PC, but then I'm not either ) is the sole and final authority about right and wrong, good and bad, and so on.

      I know I come across as a crotchety old fashioned fart a lot of times, and I'm OK with that. If there were a concert in my community that celebrated a Holy Day of a religion that I do not agree with, I would certainly not be offended; I would just ..........NOT GO TO IT !! Staying home seems like a pretty simple way for those who are "offended" by everything to avoid being "offended" by anything.

      Michael, I wish you the best in trying to write Christmas out of a Christmas concert program. That is a tough ( sorta impossible ? ) assignment indeed !
      Regards, Larry

      At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), FX-20, EL-25 ( X 2, 1 chopped, 1 not ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Baldwin 626. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hmmm. So as I read this it is not a church organization that is preparing this concert. Moreover, am I right in surmising that the venue will not be a House of Worship. It is in effect a secular albeit laced with generations of religious significance event. Sticky. Very sticky. Let's have some sympathy for the competing interests at work here. The classical music station that covers my listening area - KQAC, also broadcasts online as allclassical.org. Every year they present a multi-day Chri- erm, Holiday music marathon of some of the most sublime Christmas Music you have heard (and haven't heard before). Do check it out. I'm going to pop over there and see what they call it, hold my beer ... ... ... ah, they are calling it their 'Annual Festival of Carols'. KQAC and it's affiliates serves the entire state of Oregon, and through its Internet Servers, the world. 95% of the repertoire of the Festival is overtly Christian and no, the word Christmas is not edited from any of the descriptions or program notes. Save yourself a lot of headache and work Michael and let the change in name of the concert serve as the appropriate gesture towards a secular entity observing due cultural competency.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Leisesturm View Post
          Hmmm. So as I read this it is not a church organization that is preparing this concert. Moreover, am I right in surmising that the venue will not be a House of Worship. It is in effect a secular albeit laced with generations of religious significance event. Sticky. Very sticky.
          Leisesturm,

          You are correct, in that it is not church-related, nor are the performances in a church–usually. That said, it used to be a military organization when first formed before the American Civil War. Therefore, it has an extensive history of commemorating various events for many holidays, both secular and sacred. It appears, however, certain ones are attempting to suppress certain elements of the sacred (i.e. Christian vs. other religions). I'm having a difficult time justifying the switch based on the extensive history of the organization. I'm also imagining, since military and patriotism are also suffering a hit, that at one point in the future we'll begin removing any patriotic music from the repertoire.

          Michael
          Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
          • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
          • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
          • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

          Comment


          • #6
            It might be ironic, but logically the anti-Christians must win this battle. Because Christians shouldn't be likewise offended at the paganisation of the holiday.

            Comment


            • #7
              First, there is no easy answer to this situation. It is actually quite complex, so my sympathies go to all those caught in the middle of conflicting ideologies.
              Though it may happen, my thoughts are not meant to rile people up, but to present another take on this topic from someone who has lived partially in and partially out of the traditions.

              - Most of our "Christmas" traditions began life as pagan rituals. They were taken up by Christianity as a means of pacifying and recruiting non-believers.
              - "Christmas" in my area is primarily a secular event - weigh the amount of money spent on gifts, food and travel against the amount of time spent considering the religious aspects of the day.
              - If the musical event is sponsored by anything other than a religious group, assume that several non-believers could be part of it. They enjoy making good music, too. That also means that you will have several non-believers in the audience.
              - In some ways, the use of the word Christmas is in the same boat as wearing crosses as jewelry - they look nice but mean nothing to a lot of people. This begs another conversation - should non-believers be allowed to wear crosses or do the crosses really mean nothing in our society? There is also the potential conversation about integrity - should we expect anyone to do or say something that has nothing to do with their belief system and, in fact, may be against it? In my mind, fairness and integrity dictate that if christians should not be forced to say non-christian prayers or take part in non-christian ritual, then christians should not demand that of non-christians either. Could it be that a non-christian with integrity is better than a christian without it?
              - Even though many songs use the word "Christmas", should christians be content with all the secular songs that one hears at this time of year? "Chestnuts roasting", "Silver Bells" and "White Christmas" come to mind.
              - While one can claim "tradition" as a reason to continue any practice, that becomes a weak argument if there is a changed sincerity or integrity among those celebrating said tradition.

              My comments come from a place where I try not to be a Grinch (Is he really a Christmas character? - I didn't read about him in the bible) but my situation has meant that I have not spent Christmas with family since 1990, Where I live now, all my friends have their own families and I'm usually not invited, so I spend Christmas alone, listening to people tell me how lucky I am, not having to spend a holiday with people I don't like or who have terrible social skills. I don't have to shop for "the perfect gift". My distant family cut that long ago - we have everything we need.

              What I have seen as one of the true gifts of Christmas is spending time with people you love, whether in person or on the phone. The presents, the food, the music - they can all be tossed as far as I'm concerned. They are the trappings of the season but not the reason for it.

              There are so many carols and anthems and solos that miss Christmas entirely. Eg. We're pretty sure that the wise guys showed up a couple years later, yet we sing about them and the shepherds gathered together at the manger. Those things make it an almost-blatant confession that we either don't know what we're singing or we don't care.

              I'd be curious to find a group of non-believers in a place where Christmas is not celebrated, Give them a copy of the two Nativity narratives as recorded in the New Testament Gospels of Matthew and Luke, then ask them what they'd do to celebrate this event. I doubt that it would have much to do with what North American christians are complaining about.
              Last edited by regeron; 11-12-2019, 03:00 PM.

              Comment


              • myorgan
                myorgan commented
                Editing a comment
                Regeron,

                Thank you for a well-reasoned response. Whether I agree or not is not the issue. You're providing various views to the subject at hand, and I appreciate that.

                Michael

            • #8
              I should add - the word "holiday" comes from "holy day", so it is perfectly fine. It is unfortunate that some have decided that unless you use the word "Christmas" you are insincere or misguided or heathen or something. Even then, there are those who will only accept "MERRY Christmas" as a greeting. If you were to say "Happy Christmas" as they still do in parts of the world, some people would look at you funny or even go so far as to say "You're wrong!" and then go on to say how you have spoiled their day. The same goes for "Season's Greetings".

              If we want to complain about the misuse of words and ideas, we should complain that 'holiday/holy day" has come to mean a chance to take time off work and (usually) get away somewhere, whether for a "holy day" or not. If it's time off work and there's no religious event attached, that's a vacation. But that argument has been long since lost.

              Some people, whether religious or not, have become so legalistic about such things, it's sad and scary. I'd much rather be greeted with a warm, sincere hug and a "Glad to see you" than with a "Merry Christmas" and a cold heart or,worse, a knife in the back.
              Last edited by regeron; 11-12-2019, 10:26 AM.

              Comment


              • #9
                After a day of thought (& not a lot of sleep last night), I think I've flushed out what is actually disturbing to me. For an organization that has taken pride in being inclusive (i.e. various beliefs, lifestyles, thought processes, etc.), it was disheartening to me to learn that only one religious belief was being singled out for exclusion–Christianity.

                I checked my program notes from the prior year, and it was listed as a Christmas Concert. In fact, to save time I had saved a copy of my Veterans Day notes from last year, and didn't even notice the wording because only the date needed to be changed. My script for last year came from the former person who had written the notes the prior year.

                I am aware of a few members who are wiccan, pagan, agnostic, or athiest, and none of them have complained or expressed displeasure with any of the music we have performed–Christian or not. None of the Jewish members have complained either. In fact, one (an elder in his synagogue) tells me he has no problem with it because in his words, "Jesus Christ was a good Jew!"

                A few years ago, we performed at a Masonic Hall. While I had difficulties with supporting the choice of venue and/or cause, I was a member of the organization and played none-the-less. I was supporting the musical group I had joined.

                It does make me wonder how long it will be before someone complains the American flag is offensive or oppressive, and we shouldn't play on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or on the 4th of July.

                I see a slippery slope, and perhaps it's time to take a leave of absence. Thank you to those who have thoughtfully responded. You have helped me clarify my thought process in relation to this occurrence. Thank you!

                Michael
                Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

                Comment


                • regeron
                  regeron commented
                  Editing a comment
                  There is nothing wrong with patriotism or religion, nor is there anything wrong with celebrating them. The problem usually arises when assumptions are made and boundaries get crossed.

                  I do believe in the separation of church and state. I also believe that if you take the time, you can create a patriotic service without religion, just as you can create a religious service without patriotism. Unfortunately, most people fall back on old models that don't allow for that.

              • #10
                True Christians love everyone. The world hates all Christians.

                Comment


                • regeron
                  regeron commented
                  Editing a comment
                  As in all religions, believers come in all flavours. Some of them, you'd like to meet; others are not so nice. Not all believers love everyone. I don't know that the world hates all christians. If the world hates some believers, there may be good reason. There is no universal definition of "true christian."

                • KC9UDX
                  KC9UDX commented
                  Editing a comment
                  We don't get to define the truth. What's true is true. Anyone who doesn't love everyone is a sinner. Obviously we all are, but anyone calling himself a Christian and hating anyone had better repent. I read Christ in John 15:19 to say that the world hates all true Christians. Truly it hates Christ, why would it not hate Christians? We are the filth of the world. Who doesn't hate filth?

              • #11
                I agree with regeron . Christmas has become so secularized that its religious significance is no longer recognized. We have a couple of radio stations here that have already started playing "Chistmas Music" 24/7. You won't hear any music on those stations that has any religious significance, except perhaps on Christmas Eve when "Silent Night" gets a spin or two.

                So if Christmas is about love and light, why not be inclusive and call it a Holiday Concert? The only reason to call it a Christmas concert would be if the program was entirely of non-secular music. If you want to celebrate Christ's birth, and not the "Holidays", then go to your favorite house of worship and avoid "Jingle Bells" and "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" entirely.
                -Admin

                Allen 965
                Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
                Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
                Hauptwerk 4.2

                Comment


                • myorgan
                  myorgan commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I guess that's what gets me–the need for a name change when for many people, Christmas has become nothing more than a secular holiday decorated with trees, lights, and baubles. When the person in question specifically stated she wanted to have the name change because it was "offensive" as a "Christian" holiday, it revealed an agenda on her part directed at Christians rather than the holiday or its name.

                  I'm not one to make a change for the sake of change, or to keep from offending people. It's mystifying that all of a sudden after 10+ years, she's suddenly offended? Hmmmm.

                  Thanks again for all the input.

                  Michael

                  P.S. Maybe it's time to lower our standards to performing "Grandma Got Run Over...."

              • #12
                A couple more thoughts:
                - Christmas began as a religious holy day and has gradually become a commercial festival. Unfortunately, as that changed, marketers continued to use the word "Christmas" to help their cause, leading people to believe that spending money in some form was the best (the necessary?) way to celebrate the occasion. If they had created a new title for this, and left "Christmas" to designate just the religious part, we would be in a different position today.
                - Take some time to look up "puritan christmas", By the time you get "christmas" half typed in, your search engine will finish off the phrase with words like "banned," "Illegal" and "abolished." Whichever phrase you choose, you will read about a strict religious sect minority who presumed to impose their personal beliefs on the rest of society. It succeeded for a while, but eventually gave way and, one could say, backfired. After years of suppression, the general public was so relieved to be out from under the strict regulations that they picked up celebrations with gusto. This is a good example of what can happen when you push a pendulum too far to one side rather than try to find a balance.
                - We have actually lost some opportunities to celebrate by lumping a number of things together under the umbrella of "christmas." An example is the winter song. If you look at "Jingle Bells" or "Frosty, the Snowman" neither makes reference to any holiday, so they could be sung as long as we have snow. Sadly, they and other similar songs can't easily be sung once christmas is over, even though they there is no direct connection. That means that some celebrations (like singing non-christmas winter songs) that could have taken us through the longer, colder parts of winter are no longer accepted as normal or acceptable once December has past.

                Perhaps we'd be better off talking about "Solstice Festivals".
                - "Solstice" is one good word that describes celebrations at this time of year. Although some christians will get all squirmy, thinking that it's some pagan ritual, at its core it is just the astronomical event of either Northern or Southern Hemisphere being tilted toward or away from the sun. Remember, there are both winter and summer solstices. This occurrence has resulted in several festivals of various kinds. If the dominant religious group in any area would simply accept that other people are also celebrating at this time, and agree on which of those celebrations can be combined, we might make some steps toward new solutions.

                - We are less and less a uni-cultural society. Add to that the fact that the word 'christmas' can be viewed as a generic holiday or a specifically christian one and that either way, you will have people who either love or hate that fact. I'm not even sure anymore if it's a problem of political correctness, or just the fact that there is a cultural change happening and in our nostalgia, we are uneasy about the future and trying to hold on to some remnant of past memories as a form of comfort.

                Comment


                • #13
                  myorgan commented
                  Christmas has become nothing more than a secular holiday decorated with trees, lights, and baubles. When the person in question specifically stated she wanted to have the name change because it was "offensive" as a "Christian" holiday, it revealed an agenda on her part directed at Christians rather than the holiday or its name.
                  I certainly disagree with the choice of words used, but I think the underlying point that "Holiday Concert" is more inclusive than "Christmas Concert" is a valid one.

                  This is the time of year where the phrase "Keep Christ In Christmas" is trotted out and heard as frequently as the "Little Drummer Boy" at a day school. So maybe it's best that the secular trappings of the word be retired, even if in the name of political correctness, so that its true meaning can be rediscovered.
                  -Admin

                  Allen 965
                  Zuma Group Midi Keyboard Encoder
                  Zuma Group DM Midi Stop Controller
                  Hauptwerk 4.2

                  Comment


                  • regeron
                    regeron commented
                    Editing a comment
                    This discussion seems to center around the use of the word "christmas" and what it means to various people. If a non-christian finds it offensive because it's a christian holiday, perhaps the christians should also be offended by the fact that christmas has become commercialized. Then comes the question, "What are they going to do about it?" or even "What CAN they do about it?"

                    According to wikipedia, the first recorded Christmas celebration was in 336. It seemed to die out until after 800, when Charlemagne was crowned emperor. Continuing from wikipedia:
                    "Associating it with drunkenness and other misbehavior, the Puritans banned Christmas during the Reformation. It was restored as a legal holiday in 1660, but remained disreputable. In the early 19th century, Christmas was reconceived by Washington Irving, Charles Dickens, and other authors as a holiday emphasizing family, children, kind-heartedness, gift-giving, and Santa Claus."

                    So, there has been a fluctuating relationship between christians and christmas for quite a while. Also, for the first 300 years, there may have been no celebration of Christ's birth at all.

                    The christian church could attempt to redefine christmas, but most christians wouldn't buy into the loss of the pagan trappings and most non-christians have developed their own version of christmas to the point where they couldn't call it anything else. So I don't see much change from either side. People may just have to learn to live with this ideological split.

                    When I hear the phrase "Keep Christ in Christmas" I have a hard time taking it seriously because many of the people saying it are just as much caught up in the secular celebrations as everyone else - they just add a religious touch to it.
                    Last edited by regeron; 11-14-2019, 10:49 AM. Reason: Removing parts that didn't further the discussion in a helpful manner.

                • #14
                  I remember when growing up, we had a Christmas tree until i was about 5-6 years old, then we were never allowed to have a Christmas tree for the rest of my time at home. My father felt it was defeating the purpose of Christmas. He was a farmer, so he may have objected to the cutting down of a tree each year.

                  Michael
                  Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                  • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                  • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                  • 9 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 6 Pianos

                  Comment


                  • #15
                    Any Christian offended by solstice celebrations should read Genesis 1:14. (though hopefully they're not the type that already thinks Genesis 1 is rubbish!). 😀
                    C
                    forgEt Christmas, keep Christ in every thought, word, and action. Let the dead celebrate Halloween year round.

                    Google keyboard is really packing up right now. The way it rearranged my words was pretty offensive! 😡

                    Cheers!

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