Two high school choruses will not be performing with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) this year because they’re not “racially-diverse enough,” Fox News reports.
Apparently, it’s more important that you look like you just came from the set of “Glee” than it is to, you know, have actual talent.
“This year, the schools were informed by symphony officials that their choruses are not diverse enough, and that the symphony would be inviting a third, more diverse chorus [emphasis added],” said Cobb County Schools spokesman Jay Dillon.
Unsurprisingly, some Marietta, Ga., residents believe the symphony’s decision to turn away both Walton and Lassiter High School is discriminatory.
“I think it’s sad,” one resident, Shar Nicholson, told WSBTV.com. “I think if they have the talent and the desire they should be given the opportunity.”
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra President Stanley Romanstein argues that it’s one of the goals of the organization to “reflect the diversity of Atlanta,” adding that he is surprised at the outcry.
“It’s an interesting misunderstanding,” he said.
According to Romanstein, chorus directors at both Walton and Lassiter were “understanding” when they were told about the symphony’s decision two years ago.
Still, the fact that the symphony based its decision on physical appearance rather than merit has rubbed more than a few people the wrong way.
“It’s not necessarily fair to the students at all,” Cobb County resident Vashon Ramsey told WSBTV.com. “They should be allowed to perform regardless.”
But Romanstein stands by the ASO’s decision.
“There are at least 12 very talented high school choirs in Atlanta,” Romanstein said. “We gave Lassiter and Walton choirs an opportunity to perform for four consecutive years, and they were marvelous. We think it’s time to give other Atlanta high school choirs, who are very skilled and deserving, their chance to perform with the ASO as well.”
Both high schools were offered a chance to bring a select group of their choruses to perform with the symphony but both turned down the offer.
“Because the full choruses would not be able to perform with the symphony, both Lassiter and Walton have declined to participate this year,” said Dillon.
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