Resident: Where is the Patriotism at BRHS?

One resident noticed a lack of any American flag in the high school at a recent concert.

To the Editor:

When I attended the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band Concert at , "The Star Spangled Banner" was listed as the first selection on the program.  

They did not play it, and the conductor said he had omitted it. 

There was not a United States of America flag anywhere in our high school auditorium. There were no patriotic selections played. 

I am a 47-year resident and taxpayer of Bridgewater, and I am very disappointed and would like an answer for this lack of patriotism.


Jane Whalen


Ken Weaver April 24, 2012 at 11:58 AM
I thought the concert was excellent, regardless of whether they played The Banner or not.
Ken Weaver April 24, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Seems odd that you say nothing about the almost 90 minutes of music that they did play. Did you only come for the Star Spangled Banner? By the way, it is not a requirement for most bands to play the National Anthem before a concert. Try to focus on the positive and you will enjoy life so much more.
Jane Whalen April 25, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Why are you writing using the name of a deceased person? Concealing your identity?
Diane Cloeren April 25, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I also attended the concert and although I respect your opinion, I do feel that it is blatantly unfair to omit several facts. You indicate that the conductor stated that he "omitted" the selection and you also state in your letter that you would like an explanation for what you perceive to be a lack of patriotism. You fail to include the fact that the audience was given an explanation. The concert was a presentation of operatic musical selections. The conductor made an artistic decision to exclude the national anthem as he wished to present a cohesive group of music and wanted to set "a mood." You may disagree with the artistic decision but it's simply that - an artistic one. To assign it some malevolent intent is disingenuous. Also, the concert's sole purpose was to present music for the community's enjoyment. The band was not playing at a civic function, a memorial service or any kind of celebration of our nation and its history. The band performs numerous concerts (ALL of them being free of charge) and there are many that are patriotic. Quite frankly, I would view the very nature of the band's existence to be extremely patriotic in that the members are volunteering their time to provide arts and entertainment to others - it's community service. As far the flag not being present in the school, that is a school facilities issue. Perhaps you would like to perform community service as well and donate one to the school - they cost a few hundred dollars.
Ken Weaver April 25, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Not sure what Jane is talking about. I am alive and well. Diane, you hit the nail on the head. It is rare to find any free concerts performed at the caliber that the band played on Sunday. It is unfortunate that everything else they do is overshadowed by this simple programming decision, in this person's world. Thank you RVSB for what you do. See you at the next concert.
Lawrence Zeller April 26, 2012 at 11:40 PM
i was a member of the RVSB for six years. The director, Larry Markiewicz, is fiercely patriotic. Many, many concerts under his directorship have had musical salutes to different periods of American history, American composers, and American heroes. Mr. Markiewicz puts hundreds of hours of work into choosing the music and working with the band, which is one of the finest community bands you will ever encounter. The musicians are all volunteers who rehearse on their own time every week for the love of music. As Diane stated, not playing the Star Spangled Banner was purely a musical decision. Clearly, no disrespect was intended.
Gerianne April 30, 2012 at 01:30 PM
I have been a resident of Bridgewater for almost 30 years, and my 4 children attended the local schools. I volunteered at the schools as often as possible, and lead a cub scout group for a few years when there was no one else available. I find it outeageous that any function, of any sort, using facilities and grounds paid for on an ongoing basis by my taxes earned as an American Citizen should not display the American Flag, and celebrate the political freedoms given by this country, to all who live here(as documented or not) If the decision not to perform the Star Spangled Banner was purely a musical decision, then it is purely obvious that a new director is obviously needed. Gerianne Bruce Bridgewater, NJ 08807 The United States of America
Gerianne April 30, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Ken Weaver May 03, 2012 at 12:17 AM
You should stop coming to free concerts that you are not able to enjoy and spend hundreds of dollars to attend other concerts.
Barry July 07, 2012 at 05:41 AM
No matter what, the National Anthem should be played before every and all events. Especially when it's being held in a public school or building. There is no excuse. Two years ago, the High School Band marched at the Basilone event and they did NOT have a flag in front of the Band. I'm sure they could have grabbed one from one of the local American Legion Posts if they simply forgot to bring one. But then again, how do you simply forget to bring the flag?
Gerianne July 08, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I attend all sorts of concerts, and, as a matter of fact, would not mind paying to attend the concerts held locally, perhaps that may be an impetus to have the playlist more appropriate! Enough already with the politically correct BS. This is the United States of America, and the last time I checked, most of us are damned lucky to be here. If not. I will be happy to hold open the door at the departure gate and I will be certain that the door does not hit you in the rear on your way out!


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