Published August 17, 2012
Two high school choruses will reportedly not perform with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra this year because their groups are not racially-diverse enough.
WSBTV.com reports that the Walton and Lassiter High School choruses in Cobb County will not get a chance to perform with Atlanta’s professional this fall as a result of the determination.
"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," Cobb County Schools spokesman Jay Dillon told the website.
Local residents told the website the decision reeked of discrimination.
"I think it's sad," said Marietta resident Shar Nicholson. "I think if they have the talent and the desire they should be given the opportunity."
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra President Stanley Romanstein said the stages of the performing group should “reflect the diversity” of Atlanta, but not everyone in Cobb County agrees.
"It's not necessarily fair to the students at all," said Vashon Ramsey. "They should be allowed to perform regardless."
Romanstein said he told the chorus directors about the decision two years ago and said they understood at the time.
"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."
Lassiter and Walton were offered to bring a smaller portion of their choruses to perform, but declined.
"Because the full choruses would not be able to perform with the symphony, both Lassiter and Walton have declined to participate this year," Dillon said.
Instead, the chorus at Grady High School has been invited to perform, WSBTV.com reports.