Two parents are protesting a lyric in a One Direction song that they feel is too suggestive for a performance of a high school show choir.
Chelsea High School's show choir is set to perform "Live While We’re Young" by the British male pop band Saturday in a showcase with three other high school groups.
The song begins with male singers asking a girl to sneak out for a night of fun. It's a lighthearted song, but the main objection from Chelsea residents Michael and Mary Stone is the chorus:
"Let's go crazy, crazy, crazy til we see the sun. I know we've only met but let's pretend it's love. And never, never, never stop for anyone. Tonight let's get some. And live while we're young."
The including of "get some" is an innuendo that Michael Stone says throws the context of the entire song into a sexual light that's inappropriate for high school students to be singing and dancing to—especially in a setting that's intended to be family-friendly.
There's also a reference in the song to what the Stones say is sexting: "And if we get together, yeah get together. Don't let the pictures leave your phone."
Students have to audition to be in the show choir at Chelsea, which is called Company C. The Stones said their daughter learned of the song choice after she auditioned to be in Company C—and that she raised concerns to the music director, Stephen Hinz, about the suggestive content of the lyrics.
Hinz stood by his song choice, Mary Stone said, stating that he didn't interpret the lyrics to promote sexual promiscuity.
Mary Stone met with Hinz, and later high school Principal Mike Kapolka, to see if she could get them to change "get some" to "let's go" in the lyrics to make the context less sexual.
"I went to the principal and the principal admitted that he recognized there were references to sex in the song," Mary Stone said.
Thursday Kapolka notified the Stones that the lyric didn't violate school policy and that the show would go on as scheduled Saturday. The response prompted the Stones to make a public appeal to Superintendent Andrew Ingall and to the media late Thursday night, asking that the lyrics be changed.
“This is clearly the wrong message,” Michael Stone said. “We hate doing this but our conscience is driving us.”
There are four students, including the Stones’ daughter, who will not be performing during the One Direction song because they’re opposed to the lyric choice.
Though other parents have told the Stones they agree with their objection, no other parents are appealing to the superintendent.
Chelsea School District doesn't have a specific policy that prohibits use of sexual innuendo in song lyrics.
The Chelsea High School Student-Parent Handbook's section on dress code states: “Any item with vulgarity or profane imprinting, sexual innuendo/harassing imprinting including ‘hooters’ shirts or imprinting…is not permitted."
Mary Stone said that policy implicitly prohibits sexual innuendo within public discourse or entertainment programs.
She cited previous times when the district has made exceptions for racy content—including the fall drama production of "Guys and Dolls" when lines and characters were "toned down" to be more high school-friendly.
Music director Hinz has also made exceptions for lyrics in other songs the show choir will be singing in its "Across the Pond" performance Saturday—naturally, all the songs in the show will be by British artists.
Though "Live While We’re Young" by One Direction will be sung in its entirety, the show choir will be singing selections from "Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen and from Sting's "Fields of Gold"—which have been selected carefully to avoid innuendo-filled lyrics, Mary Stone said.
The Stones are very clear that their appeal does not impact their high regard of Hinz.
“We’ve been delighted with Mr. Hinz. My younger daughter is taking private voice lessons with his wife,” Michael Stone said. “We’re stunned that he’s so uncompromising and that he’s so insensitive to his students and parents. He has a wonderful program at this school and our children very much enjoy being involved in the choir.”
Superintendent Ingall, Principal Kapolka and music director Hinz did not immediately return a request for comment Friday to the Ann Arbor News.
The Stones received the following response from Ingall Friday afternoon: "Mr. Kapolka consulted with me prior to making his final decision regarding your assertion of a violation of the Chelsea High School Code of Conduct and/or School Board Policy. I affirm his determination that the Company C show does not violate our policies or guidelines."
Company C will perform in the 2014 Showcase at the Chelsea High School Auditorium 7 p.m. Saturday, March 1.
lmao they should listen to alive