AP, Jan. 4
MADISON — A high school band’s rendition of a tune that was an Elvis Presley hit decades ago drew a complaint from a newly elected member of the state Senate.
The Richland Center High School band played “An American Trilogy” at the Senate’s inaugural ceremony at the Capitol Monday.
State Sen. Spencer Coggs, who is black, said he was shocked, as were his family and other guests, to hear the strains of the Southern anthem “Dixie” played in the Senate chamber as part of the trilogy, along with “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “All My Trials.”
Coggs, a Democrat from Milwaukee, complained in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center.
“Whether the slight was intentional or not, the selection was not appropriate,” he wrote, noting that “Dixie” often is associated with slavery.
Schultz had invited the band and choir to play at the ceremony. “A simple apology is what’s needed,” he said, “and I will certainly be happy to do that.”