- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 6, 2005

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A high school band’s performance of an Elvis Presley hit during the Senate’s inaugural ceremony drew a complaint from a newly elected member because it included a version of “Dixie.”

Monday at the state Capitol, the Richland Center High School band Monday played a version of “An American Trilogy,” which mixes “Dixie” with “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and the spiritual “All My Trials.” Presley recorded his famous version of the medley in 1973.

State Sen. Spencer Coggs said he was shocked to hear the Southern anthem, describing it as a reminder of slavery. In a letter to state Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz, Mr. Coggs — a Milwaukee Democrat who is black — complained, “It is unfortunate that this special day was marred by such an unnecessary event.”

Mr. Schultz, a Republican, had invited the band to play at the ceremony. “A simple apology is what’s needed,” he said, “and I will certainly be happy to do that.”

He said he wasn’t aware of every musical selection the band prepared for the event, and the piece has historical significance.

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