Graduating Southington seniors to sing national anthem

Graduating Southington seniors to sing national anthem


SOUTHINGTON — Seniors and the audience at next week’s Southington High School graduation ceremony will sing the national anthem, a departure from the traditional solo performance of the anthem during the ceremony.

Auditions for the solo performance didn’t take place this year, according to parents and students.

Principal Brian Stranieri didn’t return a call for comment on the change. School Superintendent Tim Connellan said the high school band will play the national anthem and the class of 2017 will lead the crowd.

Crystal Madore, a senior and concert choir member, said the school usually holds auditions to determine who will sing the anthem. The day of auditions, she said, Stranieri told choir members that he’d chosen a student seven months ago.

“All of us were like, ‘This is kind of messed up,’” Madore said. “We’ve been looking forward to this for four years.”

Madore said the person chosen by Stranieri to sing the anthem later decided not to do so. Madore said she and other choir members don’t blame the student.

“It wasn’t a fair situation for her,” she said.

Parents and other students also said that a girl had been chosen to sing the anthem, but later backed out.

Madore said the idea that the national anthem might not be part of the ceremony upset her, particularly since her brother, who has been in the military for four years, was going to be in attendance.

“He would be sitting there not even getting the national anthem,” she said.

Connellan said Wednesday there was a misunderstanding regarding the anthem singer selection. He called it an honest mistake and hoped that everyone would focus on the graduation as a celebration of students.

“Unfortunately the reactions of some students and some adults were not in keeping with the high standards of character, generosity and kindness toward others that our community holds dear,” he said. “Mistakes do happen in life. A valuable lesson to be learned from this situation is that it is important to look beyond the mistakes of others, forgive and move forward in a positive direction.”

Michael Ricciardone, a senior and concert choir member, said the school should have held auditions as it has in the past. He and other concert choir students met with Stranieri this past week and said having everyone sing was a fair compromise.

“I think it’s the most fair way,” Ricciardone said. “I get where he’s coming from. I think it’s nice, having everybody sing it. It’s better than no national anthem.”

Lori Russo and her daughter are planning to sing during graduation since the solo performance was canceled. Russo said concert choir students “have been deeply affected by not being able to perform it as has been the tradition for many, many years.” 203-317-2230 Twitter: @JBuchananRJ

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