Why are the high school drama programs doing great stuff, but the music departments are performing junk?

That copyright infringement case involving the BHS Vocal Music Association only highlights our long-time observation that these alleged violations are mostly in service to putting on over-synthesized reproductions of bad or mediocre material that has already been compromised by a complete lack of creativity and artistic judgement in the originals.

We’re not talking about technical or imitative skill here, we’re talking about taste and knowledge of the material as well as a measured consideration of what else is out there. Almost everything these music programs do now is just so drippy and faux showbiz. And of the worst, 21st-century sort.

By contrast, have the drama departments been taking IQ pills lately? Unless this has been announced as an upcoming movie project for Beyonce and we haven’t heard about it yet, it’s quite an imaginative choice:

The John Burroughs High School Drama program presents its final play of the 2015-16 season with George Washington Slept Here on May 6, 7 and 8 in the school auditorium.

A Broadway hit which debuted in 1940, George Washington Slept Here chronicles the comedic antics that ensue when some New York City folk buy a fixer-upper in the pastoral Pennsylvania countryside.

The promotional stills even show one kid doing a pretty good Jack Benny imitation. That would be like the Show Choir going out of its way to honor Betty Hutton at length (who, they say?)

Why the discrepancy? Is it because drama students have to be able to read?

This VMA debacle gives our school board and school administrators a great opportunity to completely revamp the high school vocal music programs. Get rid of the cheap, stupid commercial pop stuff and start bringing in some — shall we really call it this (?) — quality material.

The stuff they’re doing now is just horrible, and — apparently — quite expensive.






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7 responses to “Why are the high school drama programs doing great stuff, but the music departments are performing junk?

  1. Dixie Knowland

    Just maybe we like drama here in Burbank more than we like music ? Tune in sometime to a council meeting and watch the drama from our very own Will Rogers,

  2. CornFused

    Couldn’t agree more. The practice schedule they make these kids follow is completely unnecessary as well. For a lot of the parents this seems to be more important than actually expanding their kids education. All that effort and nothing really worthwhile to show for it.

    This is a weird community that somehow believes it’s part of the “film and television” world for no other reason than they can drive by a few studios on the way to Starbucks. Go to a “talent show” and see how many parents include themselves in their kids acts.

  3. Anonymous 3

    Again, how many of your children participated in the choral efforts?

    Or if you prefer, tell us how many years YOU were in the chorus?

    My child was in the choir, and treasures all her memories.

  4. Anon

    I’m sure when you were in high school, you would have appreciated the wisdom of the olds as to what music to perform in choir or and deferred to whatever suited the taste of the olds. You’re one of the olds now with no connection to BHS.

    And as with so many things (e.g., the name of the airport) why do you care (other than to feed your ego)? Have you been attending choir performances, sat through the classical presentations and then walk out for the commercial pop part of the show? You do know that the commercial pop part you hate so much is paid for by donations, fundraising and parent contributions, right? So again, why do you care?

    • semichorus

      Yes, when I was in high school I would have listened to the teachers ideas, and not just think that everything I saw on TV was the way to go. In fact, Reg Hall at BHS did LOTS of non-TV, non-slick, non-commercial stuff (when’s the last time you saw even THEN a teenage barbershop quartet?)

      Ah, so the pop stuff at Show Choir is paid for, eh? That figures. No wonder it’s being foisted on the kids. You think that’s a GOOD thing?

      What next, product placements on the stage?

      They’re perfectly willing shills then I guess– which is a big BIG part of the problem nowadays anyway with young people. They’re just so damned conformist and careerist.

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