Grass Valley, CA — Attendees at Grass Valley’s Nevada Union High School graduation were both surprised and concerned over the weekend when the traditional processional march song “Pomp and Circumstance” was replaced with Amy Winehouse’s song “Rehab.” Two weeks ago, senior students voted to replace the time-tested marching tune with something “more upbeat and modern,” according to the head of the committee.
“Pomp and Circumstance is about the past. It’s an old tune, you know,” said graduating senior Bradee Moore speaking about the decision. “Besides it’s boring and stupid. There are no lyrics. No one likes it.”
The choice of Amy Winehouse song “Rehab” is quite controversial since it explores themes of drug use and addiction with lyrics such as “They tried to make me go to rehab/I said, ‘no, no, no’“, but according to Ms. Moore, it was chosen for its upbeat nature.
“It’s got a groove and it moves, ” continued Ms. Moore. “Pomp and Circumstance sounds like you’re at a funeral. Should we play something just because they played it in the past? Who thinks that’s a good idea? This is our time, and we should choose music that fits with our future. Don’t tell us what to do.”
Parents and family members in attendance had no idea of the song selection, and some, like Nevada City’s Stacy Grant who had a daughter graduating, found the song highly inappropriate.
“When I find out who authorized this song, there is going to be big trouble. I mean, who on the planning committee thought it would be OK to celebrate drugs?” said Ms. Grant who seemed upset over the Winehouse song. “I don’t want to sound like an old fogy, but there were small children there. And my Mother kept asking me what the song meant. I was too embarrassed to tell her.”
Members of the faculty were also nonplussed, but unsurprised.
“These kids will amount to nothing,” said veteran English teacher Garrett Deasy in a telephone interview following the ceremony. “Slackers and vagrants, all of them. They have no respect for anyone or anything.”
Although parents and some faculty were taken aback by the selection, students loved it.
“Man, like, we were totally stoked What’s the big deal,” questioned a somewhat defiant High School Senior Finn Swann who barely graduated. “Plus we danced all the way to our seats. You know? Yeah, it made Stevie barf on Jaime’s lap, and Mr. Deasy’s entire class flipped him off, but it was so righteous.”
Request for comment from the school and district leadership were not answered.