A Pennsylvania school district has apologized and made significant changes to a high school marching band’s halftime show that commemorated the Russian Revolution with red flags, military-style outfits and giant hammers and sickles.
The New Oxford High School Marching band’s show will no longer be called “St. Petersburg: 1917” and the performance will no longer include the hammers and sickles, according to a statement from Rebecca Harbaugh, the superintendent for the Conewago Valley School District.
Harbaugh acknowledged that “many people have expressed concerns about the show.”
“We are taking steps to address many of the concerns expressed to us,” she said. “This is a learning opportunity for not only our students who have learned about the Revolution and its tragic consequences but it also a learnign opportunity for us as teachers and administrators.”
The performance will now be called, “The Music of Shostakovich” and the hammer and sickle have been replaced with traditional Color Guard band equipment.
The controversy started when an unidentified parent became upset after watching the performance.
“There is no reason for Americans to celebrate the Russian revolution,” the parents said. “I am sure the millions who died under Communism would not see the joy of celebrating the Russian revolution by a school 10 miles from Gettysburg.”
“It was Glee meets the Russian Revolution,” he told Fox News. “I’m not kidding you. They had giant hammers and sickles and they were waving them around.”
“Who thought this was a good idea?”
Paul Kengor, the executive director for the Center for Vision & Values at Pennsylvania’s Grove City College, thought the performance was initially a joke.
“This is surreal,” he told Fox News. “This is like something out of the Twilight Zone – but it’s even stranger than that.”
Kengor said even if the school was not celebrating the revolution “they seem to be commemorating this to some degree.”
“The Bolshevik Revolution launched a global Communist revolution that from 1917 through the 1990s was responsible for the deaths of over a hundred million people,” he said. “What the Russian revolution unleashed was a nightmare – a historical human catastrophe. This is something that should be condemned and not in any way commemorated or laughed at.”