Glee Club to sing at tree ceremony

by Jay Krehbiel | 11/13/97 6:00am

The Glee Club voted unanimously to sing Christmas carols at the tree lighting ceremony later this term, a change from last year when the Glee Club did not sing the carols due to their Christian content.

This year the group will sing both secular and non-secular songs, including Silent Night, Come All Ye Faithful, Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer, director and Music Professor Louis Burkot said.

"It is very good music that we sing very well," he said.

It also is likely the College will continue to pay for a Christmas tree and the lighting ceremonies in the middle of the Green, if the administration follows the recommendation of the Committee on the Christmas Tree, members of the committee said yesterday.

The committee's recommendations will be turned over to the Office of Public Programs, the Tucker Foundation and the President's Office for an ultimate decision on the matter.

After a great deal of controversy last year over the nature of the tree and the lighting ceremony, the committee concluded that the tree should be called a "Christmas" tree, rather than a "Holiday" tree. The committee said they felt the tree, whatever its name, remains a Christmas tree, and that non-Christian students could not relate to the tree any better if it were called by another name.

College Rabbi Daniel Siegel, a member of the committee, said he hopes the College community will understand that they felt the nature and connotations of the tree are "all right."

The majority of the 20 students who attended the meeting said they felt the tree should be called a Christmas tree, and that the tree would not oppress other religions.

"Christmas is such a positive thing," Vincent Leung '00 said. "It is hardly oppressive, it reaches out to all people."

Siegel, speaking for the committee, said the tree is important to the community. "It is simply part of Dartmouth, like Homecoming," he said.

The committee will recommend that the Office of Public Programs change the name officially for all College purposes, yet it is still unclear whether or not that office has the ultimate authority to change the name.

The Office of Public Programs is in consultation with the President's office to determine who is responsible for a final decision, Siegel said.

Speech Professor Jim Kuypers, the only faculty member to attend the meeting, said, "If the Administration does not listen to the committee's recommendation, then they should have a meeting to explain their decision."

Contrary to rumors after last year's controversy, funding for the tree does not come from the President's discretionary fund, but comes variety of different departments. The Office of Public Programs funds the tree-lighting ceremony.