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Dances Without Wolves

Barbara writes:

Has Circle of Sisters ever discussed the environment of LDS youth dances? What level of lighting is appropriate? How loudly should music be played? What experiences have your readers had with providing alternate activities (such as games and service projects) for youth who don’t want to dance?

Jeannie says:

I’m going to be of little help here. Our teenagers’ dancing years were spent in another country where customs are different. Lights, music, decibel levels were not an issue. Activities were done in groups and dances usually included all willing adults. It was “cool” to dance, even with the mom or your best friend.

I did make a few phone calls to folks with that stewardship and got some very interesting responses. One sister had been a member of the stake Young Women leadership for three years. She said that lights were fully up on the stage and in corridors. Cultural hall lighting was a little lower to create the atmosphere of a dance. From my own experience back when dinosaurs roamed the earth I do remember that as the lights got dimmer, we became bolder and danced just a little closer. Our leaders used the lights as a measuring stick and in spite of our protests, kept the level fairly high.

This same sister described the music at stake dances as being “comfortably loud.” No one asked that it be cranked up any louder, so it was probably OK. She mentioned that GAP store background music was much louder. Their stake hired some LDS DJ’s who did a great job of playing favorite dance songs which met with Church standards. The biggest problem stakes in this area are having is, of all things: attendance. There are so many alternative activities that monopolize evenings, actual dancing youth are at a premium. The best-attended stake dance during her service was a whopping 30. I ?m sure that in communities not predominantly LDS, attendance is much greater.

As far as alternative activities for non-dancers are concerned, if it is a stake dance, all leaders with whom I spoke asked, What is the point? ? A dance is just that: a dance. Ward level dance activities are a little different, especially for beehives and scouts. Alternate activities must be an option. It ?s not a matter of not wanting to dance, but rather that it is not appropriate to attend dances at this age level. I ?m sure that there is a wealth of ideas out there and am anxious to hear what our readers have to contribute on the subject of light deficiency, noise pollution, and non-“dancer” reindeer games.

Kathy says:

Thanks for the question, Barbara. The choice of music, the decibel level, and certainly the lighting surely call for an emergency “dancer answer.” I think our readers can help us right away. This is a very important issue. Of course, we want them to associate with LDS peers and leaders as much as possible, for all the obvious reasons, even while courtship is still several years away. But we are shooting ourselves in the foot if we try to make our events as much like the “competition” as possible. If our kids are partying in places that are dark, with music that ?s lewd, loud, or loutish (or all three!), and the “activities” are those that tend to attract police contact, then we do not want to compete with this environment in order to coax our kids to attend. For high school kids and many institute kids, the purpose of a youth dance is to dance or hang out in a positive environment not to snuggle with Sister Wright.

I think it ?s always thoughtful for a host, especially of youth, to provide a range of activities to suit the guests. I like the idea of board games and puzzles on the tables that surround the dance floor, for kids who like to hang out but are afraid to dance or just don ?t want to be quite that assertive. Dancing isn ?t the natural expression of sociality in our culture that it is in many others, to our huge detriment. I wish it were otherwise, but alas, many of us simply can ?t dance and feel like idiots on the dance floor. We should learn. But it might take a few exposures to the art, to get the nerve. Nothing wrong with going to a lot of dances before we eventually muster the courage to try actual dancing.

Meanwhile, the hall needs to be bright, the music light, and the activities right. We are not interested in providing alternate raves for our precious youth.

{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Reader Comment July 1, 2007, 4:35 pm

    Church Handbook of Instruction, pg 277:

    Dances and Music
    The beat of the music, whether instrumental or vocal, should not overshadow the melody. Music volume should be low enough so two people standing side by side can hear each other as they carry on a normal conversation.

    Lights should be bright enough for people to see across the room. Strobe lighting and psychedelic lighting that pulsate with the beat are not acceptable.

  • Reader Comment July 1, 2007, 4:37 pm

    Bradley writes:

    I didn’t like dances until I was about 15-16 years old. Once I learned how fun they are, I enjoyed myself a lot more. Here is what I think about dances:

    First off, almost every dance I have been to is quite tame. I’ve only seen a few occasions where people were dancing in an immodest way. And it didn’t matter what sort of lighting, how loud the music was, etc. I don’t think that lighting the music have much to do with how people will dance. The same kids are the ones who dance inappropriately, no matter what the circumstances. The best we can do is try to give them a good example.

    Second, its unfair to turn a song off in the middle of it. One dance I remember had four or five songs turned off because someone found them offensive. One song was Butterfly Kisses, a country song. It was about kissing and was turned off. It really bothered the youth as it is a beautiful song, no bad lyrics. It’s actually a ballad. I think its better to have music picked before the dance or have song requests during the dance. It ruined the evening for a lot of people as it is a great song that most people like.

    Third, I think it’s also good when youth are allowed to bring their own music. Some of the adult DJ’s don’t know what is popular, so having the youth bring some of their own favorite dance tapes/CDs is a good idea. I remember bringing some of my favorite CD’s to dances, and I requested some of the best songs. Note: If youth bring their own music to play, make sure they’re labeled with post-it-notes. Most youth are very good and wouldn’t think about bringing any bad music, even if they own it.

    If you don’t have a DJ to do the music, you could get a bunch of youth together each with a dozen of their favorite CD’s. The youth can pick the songs and someone with a computer can burn a copy of them. One CD can hold 1-1/2 hours of songs. You could easily get away with having two burned CD’s as the only music you need for the dance. You could even have a raffle and give away the burned CD’s as door prizes since a lot of people (like myself) love mixed CD’s. Or you could save the CD’s and use them for future dances. It is not recommended you use the same CD’s for more than a few dances, as music trends will have changed. All you’d need is a CD player and speakers and someone to put the CD in at the beginning of the dance. No need to have a DJ!

    (Burning a CD doesn’t require matches. Its a term used to describe saving songs to a CD on your computer. Just in case you thought I was a pyromaniac!)

    I think creative lighting is always fun. Lighting the room with Christmas lights is fun, and looks really special. If you had christmas lights (twinkling ones or icicle lights would be really fun!) and then the regular lights on a very low setting, the room would be dim without being pitch black. It would also give a really cool jazzy look without being expensive. Almost everyone had a few rolls of Christmas lights they can spare. White lights are brightest and most designer looking.

    Actually, I think making the cultural hall look like a really cool dance club would be a lot of fun. We want to encourage our youth to come to dances, but if we don’t try to make them fun then why would anyone want to come? I think having dry ice mixed with water would be a fun idea to make the floor look you’re dancing on a cloud. It would be inexpensive too. It might not last the whole dance, but should last for a while. The “cloud” would be low to the ground, maybe a foot from the ground at the most.

    Having a youth prom could also be fun. Everyone could wear what they wore to their proms. Most youth do dress modestly to their proms, since the trends now go for long floor length dresses.

    When I was in the youth, I always danced in groups. I would dance with my sister, my best friend (a girl) and each of us would bring in one or two other people. I always tried to pick out people who didn’t have people to dance with, or didn’t tend to participate. We ended up becoming good friends with these people. We were popular in the youth program, but not considered the ‘popular or cool’ kids. We didn’t care. We had fun without hanging out with the most popular kids.

    In our group (usually considered the most fun to be in, by the way) we didn’t care about what we looked like. We belted the lyrics to songs. We had group slow dances (a whole bunch of us stood in circles holding hands, pretending it was super romantic. Suppose you had to be there.) Our group slow dances were really fun. Didn’t matter if we were 10 girls and two guys, or if it was just the three of us. We always had fun.

    We swing-danced to slow Celine Dion ballads, and waltzed to Techno. A few times, my best friend and I pretended we were professional dancers and tried doing moves we’d seen done on TV. We always had fun, not caring what others thought. (We can dance well, and actually got many compliments on our dancing even when we were goofing around.)

    The most fun was that we usually invited social outcasts into our group. I remember one kid who went to most dances, but didn’t really enjoy dancing. We got him going and he ended up having a blast. It was a way to get the unpopular kids mixed in with the really popular kids, and we all had a good time.

    By the end of the night, we were so tired we’d sometimes have ‘sit down dances’, where we’d sit in the middle of the dance floor and move only the top halves of our body. It was all part of our ridiculous sort of humor.

    I can honestly say that while the kids trying to be cool probably only remember a few dances, I remember almost every one. We had such a great time, and we did it while keeping our standards. We did have slow dances, but half the time we decided we’d rather have fun than be serious.

    Simple, to-the-point rules:

    1. Pick fun music from all eras (everything from swing to country to pop)
    2. Think of creative lighting (disco ball, christmas lights)
    3. Have food kids like (preferably something to cool off dancers, Italian ice, lots of punch, soda, etc.)
    4. Casual dress dances are always more popular
    5. Pick fun themes or have inexpensive contests

    I went to one dance where the stake presidency had the responsibility of reading and reviewing every song’s lyrics. If that is going to happen, I do not think the stake should be in charge. Stake presidencies are so busy anyway with their regular work, adding to that reading a few hundred songs’ lyrics

    I think turning off an inappropriate song is fine. However, the songs they did turn off were a little bit silly. The music had already been approved, but someone was offended by certain songs and turned them off without a second thought. The youth who were dancing became upset and it ruined the fun spirit we had there.

    You can buy dance tapes and CD’s for a few dollars at Walmart. Most of the music is church appropriate, and they are specifically designed for dances. I bought one that is music meant for parties, and it has dance songs from the 1930’s to the 1990’s.

    I still wish our stake had done theme dances 50’s sockhop, 70’s Disco, etc. I think dressing up in costumes is some of the most fun.

  • Alison Moore Smith July 1, 2007, 4:39 pm

    Thanks for the input, Bradley. I’m glad to hear that you have seen “tame” dances. But, believe me, the experience is not universal! In a former stake a large number of youth created a human screen to hide dancing with explicit sexual similatuion (and partial removal of clothing) from all the chaperones. This was done at the conclusion of a youth conference, for heaven’s sake! Apparently some youth are so accustomed to extremely inappopriate dance behavior that they seem oblivious to how contrary it is to what the gospel teaches so contrary that they think little of engaging in it in the church building itself. In times like these, especially, it is imperative that the music and atmosphere of our church-sponsored dances are wholesome.

    I disagree that it’s “unfair” to turn off a song in the middle. If it’s inappropriate and somehow still made it to the speakers I certainly wouldn’t want it to continue to blast its message in the name of fairness. But I do think it indicates a problem, perhaps lack of planning. (And, for the record, I wouldn’t have turned off Butterfly Kisses. It was written by a father for his daughter. Sheesh!)

    Your ideas for allowing youth music input is definitely great. I think that it would be better for the youth to submit pieces before the dance, however. Things are generally too chaotic during a dance to try to do any kind of screening of the song. If youth had a deadline, say two weeks before the dance, to submit requests, it would allow organizers to listen to them first.

    Burning new CDs would be great, but I’m afraid that is going to run into some copyright problems since bill C-32 was passed. As you said offline, copying for personal use is acceptable, but I doubt that taking songs from multiple CDs belonging to multiple people and burning them onto one CD, to be shared by the owners and many others would constitute “personal use.” And, obviously, giving the CDs away as a door prize is even more problematic. At least someone had better check it out thoroughly. As a church entity we must ensure that we are operating strictly within the law.

    I love the prom idea! Fortunately the trend is, as you say, toward longer skirts. Unfortunately the trend is also for spaghetti straps and strapless gowns! But there does seem to be a modesty movement in the works. If all the teens will really jump on board, the chances for success will soar!

    Your ideas and fun attitude are definitely much needed. What a great way to spend your time and energy. If you wouldn’t mind regressing a bit and going to our local high school, I’m sure I can find a place for you!!

  • Reader Comment July 1, 2007, 4:41 pm

    Mark writes:

    This whole question of competing with the world is something that I wrestle with constantly. I flip-flop back and forth depending on the day, the issue, and a little bit depending on who I talked to last.

    A couple of thoughts:

    1. One sister was frustrated by the lack of attendance, and another commented that she refused to compete with raves. It occurred to me that our inability or disinterest in competing might have something to do with declining attendance.
    2. On the music issue, I personally find it sad that we as Mormons can’t or won’t produce music that matches our standards that kids would actually want to dance to. Why should we have to rely on the few inoffensive gems that the world produces, when we could be making our own uplifting yet appealing dance music.
    3. In my mind, there isn’t any reason why we can’t make good dance music, given enough time and money. Talent we have plenty of in the church. I am surprised at some of the attitudes that I encounter, though. Some seem content to filter the world’s junk, but to do our own would be somehow “blasphemous.” Now, I’m not talking about singing about sacred ordinances or the garden of Gethsemane with a pounding beat, but you can certainly sing about kindness or pure and righteous romantic love, or a million other topics about life as a Latter-day Saint, and be able to dance to it.

    I’m a singer/songwriter and an amateur producer. I do recordings (when my system works right) of my own songs and those of my friends. I’ve been working with some girls in my old ward doing a danceable track, and I’ve got a few others in the works. It’s a lot of fun, but right now my technology is kind of presenting “a bit of a challenge”. I had thought at one time to get a lot of my LDS musician friends to produce some danceable tracks and to compile them on to a CD that we would give away free as a service project to wards and stakes. I still think that would be a viable option, given enough time, and (of course) startup money.

    My own music, written and recorded for my own enjoyment, is not so much focused on dancing, but is a more rock style. Actually, I like to dabble in lots of different styles. I’m working on a CD right now that’s got a bit of R&B, some folksy things, and two or three that come from a kind of classic hard rock sort of sound. All have uplifting lyrics, and are more or less religiously driven, but some are more religious than others. One, for example, is basically thanking Heavenly Father for all of my blessings, but it doesn’t specifically mention Heavenly Father. But still, I think it’s obvious what I’m talking about in the song. Another one, called “Superman” is just about being married, and there’s nothing overtly religious about it. Then there’s “The Taker,” which is basically my testimony of the atonement.

    I can send you any of these lyrics you’d like, if you’re interested, and there are some songs that you can download from the website, too.

  • Jeannie Vincent July 1, 2007, 4:43 pm

    Thanks so much for joining our discussion! There certainly is no reason on earth why we can’t produce our own brand of “cool” dance music. Looking at your email address, it sounds like you are already taking steps in that direction. Best of luck.

  • Reader Comment July 1, 2007, 4:48 pm

    Peter from Maidstone Stake, England, writes:

    As a 31-year-old parent and high school teacher who has recently served as a ward Young Men president and just been called to be a counselor in our stake Young Men presidency, I feel very strongly about the issues surrounding youth and Young Single Adult dances. They are the core of the social life of young Latter-day Saints here in Britain and other areas, where members are sparsely scattered. It is so important to get them right.

    Like hundreds of others, I spent my teens and young adulthood with my peers roaming the country in search of a good church dance. Many proved to be mediocre or dire while a few were superb.

    Like many things in life, we usually had the best bonding experiences on the journey rather than at the destination! However, we reached a point in the late 1980’s where some valiant individuals put on dances, with church standards and music we actually wanted to dance to, outside the structures of church programs, which held the fabric of our social lives together until the stakes raised their game and put on more appealing dances (usually using the same DJ’s) and things have become a lot better.

    It is very sad to hear that U.S. youth are not making the most of dances; they’re missing out. The perhaps unbalanced impression we get here of American youth culture from films and sitcoms is that your dances are overloaded with unnecessary social pressures, based on having to have a love interest to dance with, and endless risks of social humiliation. The traumas and expense I witnessed at prom time on my mission in Alabama made me very grateful for what I grew up with. Y’all need to seriously chill out!

    In Britain dances tend to be a much more of a relaxed free-for-all with everyone dancing together and very little pairing off except for a few chaste slow numbers at the end. The few who don’t want to dance have a good chat in the corridors and nearly everyone eventually gets up the confidence to join in by the time they are 16. My comments are therefore based on the British cultural context but are probably relevant elsewhere.

    Music: As long as popular music is not inappropriate and plenty of it is not make sure you’re playing a variety of what they want to hear and have something for each subculture. We give a lot of attention to making sure everyone who walks through the chapel door has a spiritual or social experience suited to their needs and interests, so why not make sure every sort of person has a friend waiting for them on the DJ’s turntable?

    Lighting: Subdued equals atmosphere, and of course teenagers will be too self-conscious to dance with the lights blazing. The pioneers frolicking around the campfire had subdued lighting. Give the kids some credit if they are going to get up to serious naughtiness it will be at school, in town, at the shops, on a date, walking in the park, or any of the other thousands of situations when none of us is around to supervise them, not in front of us at a dance! Which brings me to my next point:

    Trust: Our only hope for raising righteous youth is to teach them correct principles and trust them to govern themselves. They spend most of their waking hours away from us. We could not control them even if we wanted to. As a teacher of teenagers for seven years, I have found that my pupils who have very controlling parents are a nightmare as soon as they leave the house, because they have not learned to control themselves. They have been conditioned to do whatever they feel like until an adult intervenes to tell them when to stop.

    Youth and Young Single Adults dances are the best environment for teaching the next generation that they can have fun and confidently participate in dances and parties and the other social situations they will find themselves in without needing drink or drugs to give them confidence or enjoy life. It is such a tragic lie swallowed hook, line, and sinker by most of their peers that it can’t be done without pharmaceutical support. I was fortunate to have a youth with plenty of really good, energetic, trendy, fun with Latter-day Saints my own age without a drop of booze or the feeling that it would have been cooler to be somewhere else, and I want the same for my young men and my son. Nightclubs and pubs or parties (where my school friends got more boring the more they drank) were sordid, smelly affairs in comparison.

    Compete with the world’s social events? Absolutely! Our dances need to rock, to be the best thing in town. They need a great atmosphere, some good lights, great music that’s loud enough to dance to while not physically damaging. Sitting in an ivory tower and ignoring the realities of contemporary youth culture is not going to provide an ongoing alternative to much more dangerous environments offered by the world. We encourage quality and excellence in education, the arts, our skills, so why put up with amateur mediocrity in our dances? Otherwise the kids will vote with their feet as they stampede to the nearest keg party. It is so important, yet often so difficult, for the responsible adults in our youth programs to differentiate between what is good and harmless in modern youth culture, music, and fashion and the sense that it is all wrapped up in the nightmare of the world’s youth “going to heck in a handbasket.”

    None of this is new. People have for centuries listened to the same music or been to similar social events. In some situations they chose to debauch themselves, while others considered doing nothing of the sort. It all depends on the social context. Drug dens, nightclubs, doctors’ waiting rooms, and shops can all have exactly the same sound track, but what you do there will vary wildly. If you endow a dancing environment with some kind of mystical power to corrupt in your thinking, you will start to fear and therefore hate it instead of embracing it and using it positively. You risk making situations where it is offered by the world far more attractive than they really are and give clubbing a cool, rebellious cachet. I want my youth to have the same experiences I did by walking into a nightclub, looking around, and realizing they could have just as much of a good dance at a church event without the inconvenience of going home deaf and smelling like an ashtray in a brewery.

    With respect, if you are only getting 30 people to a stake dance in Mormon-saturated Deseret, you are failing disastrously to meet the challenge laid down by the world and need to be prepared to radically change what you do, or you will get the attendance you have always received. You also need to be very clear about what exactly you are afraid of when it comes to decisions about lighting and volume. Loudish music it not intrinsically evil just because it is loud. Twilight is not somehow inhabited by evil spirits. If our youth have such weak moral compasses that they will throw away their values and feel compelled to start behaving inappropriately just because the lights are turned down, someone needs to be freaking out at their parents and teachers, not them. And I have never, ever, even once seen people start sinning just because their music was loud. It’s usually far too distracting! If you are going to put on a dance, make it a proper dance rather than a chess ‘n’ chat evening. The youth need to trust that they will get what is advertised or they won’t bother coming again.

    The other cultural shift you perhaps need to encourage in the states and the lesson materials that get exported to us is to ease up on presenting dating and young socializing as so deadly serious. One sometimes gets the impression that you shouldn’t spend time with anyone as a teenager unless you are pretty sure you’d feel OK about marrying them, and that from the age of 16 courtship becomes all-important! It’s quite alien to the culture in Europe and seems to involve all kinds of unnecessary pressures and expectations that you have to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, and that if you do it is all basically about interviewing potential candidates for marriage, not having fun! Too much, too young. You can have absolutely rock solid moral standards at a fun, lively, “good as a night club yet better” church dance. Why should the youth have to go somewhere else to find that? If you are going to teach your American kids to dance, provide a top quality experience with enthusiasm. It works a treat here. The youth want to have fun. If we don’t get our act together to provide it, they will get bored and make do with inappropriate substitutes.

  • Reader Comment July 1, 2007, 4:49 pm

    I have seen many activities in growing up “in the Mormondom of Cache Valley” (the greatest place on the earth to live if you don’t have a high need for diverse activities). And raising my family in Louisville, Kentucky (another great place to live), and now in Monroe, Michigan. I think one of the difficult things with activities is the inconsistency in the application of “correct principles” (due to the diverse interpretation of what is acceptable) and the communication to the youth and parents of the what’s and why’s. I tend to be liberal to a point. I do feel that people should remember the following:

    1. The location of the dance (usually a church building) and maintain an appropriate level of reverence.
    2. Darkness and light cannot occupy the same space. This can refer to the physical illumination of the facility and the type of music. I believe that dimming the lights a bit in the cultural hall is okay, but other parts of the building should be normal lighting. The music should be the type that has no reference to evil or illicit activities and an underlying beat that does not arouse the senses. All music should be pre-approved by the stake music chairman and a member of the stake presidency. Common sense and not personal preference should prevail.
    3. I like the idea of a theme where the hall can be moderately decorated to enhance the desired environment.
    4. The adults (chaperones) should have fun and mix with the crowd. Remember these are the leaders that we will be following in the future. Let’s get to know them and let them know that we care about them.
    5. The Spirit can leave in many ways and those in charge should be sensitive to the current conditions to make changes as necessary.
    6. I would like to see “dance instructors” so kids can learn the great dances. The instructors should be aware of some of the modern (acceptable) ones as well. I think this could be a fun exercise.
  • Jeannie Vincent July 1, 2007, 4:50 pm

    I think it is great that our male readership has become so “present.” I really appreciated your six-point guidelines and think they will be a great resource for leaders that may be tuning in. The theme suggestion is fun because it always calls for youth participation and involvement. We did dance instruction in Vienna and it met with fairly positive reaction. The main thing is, as you mentioned, to get out there together (generational diversion) and have fun.

  • agardner July 1, 2007, 7:42 pm

    When I was growing up there was a church leader who went to all the stake dances and separated anyone who was “bear hugging”. This was back in the 80’s. It was always the same guy (I think he was the stake YM president), and all the kids liked him and seemed to comply with his wishes. We had so much fun at these dances. The dances themselves were pretty tame – good music by an LDS DJ, decent lighting (enough that you could see who you wanted to dance with when they walked in the door), good refreshments and fun. I would say parking lots weren’t very well controlled, however.

    Alison, your experience horrifies me. I have three daughters coming up and if they can’t go to youth conference and/or stake dances without having inappropriate activities, what can they do? It is so scary raising kids these days.

  • facethemusic July 2, 2007, 8:01 pm

    I know this is an old conversation– one that happened before I came aboard.
    But I just wanted to counter a couple things that Bradley stated:

    I think it’s also good when youth are allowed to bring their own music. Some of the adult DJ’s don’t know what is popular, so having the youth bring some of their own favorite dance tapes/CDs is a good idea.

    Oh, boy. BAD IDEA! The songs at a church sponsored dance need to be approved by the Stake YM or YW leaders, or someone appointed to do so. (This could be the DJ him/herself, but ONLY if the DJ is instructed in what counts as appropriate and inappropriate, and is NOT one of the youth.) And almost by nature, someone who DJ’s frequently is constantly listening to the radio to hear what’s hot. They usually know more about the hot music in all genres– far more than the youth do.
    About 85% of the popular music on pop-radio stations today is extremely inappropriate and shouldn’t be played at church dances. With country it’s about half and half.
    The DJ’s will most likely already be familiar with everything playing on the radio– so he’ll/she’ll most likely already know which of those songs are appropriate or inappropriate.
    But when kids bring their own CD’s they’re often things that the DJ is not familiar with (BECAUSE he’s listening to the pop radio stations to find out what’s popular on the charts).
    Often what youth bring from home is some fringe group, or an indie artist that isn’t signed with a label and the DJ has never heard of them. OR they bring a CD of a popular artist, but only 2 or 3 of the songs are on the radio (which the DJ would be familiar with and if they’re clean will probably already have) and the rest are NOT on the radio, so the DJ may have never heard them before.
    A DJ RARELY has time to listen to a song before he plays it. He’s concentrating on too many things to be able to listen to a song and REALLY pay attention to the lyrics before he/she can approve it.
    And heaven knows that unfortunately, you can’t take a teen’s word for it. Half the time they never pay attention to what the lyrics are really saying, even when they can sing along and seem to know all the words.

    The youth can pick the songs and someone with a computer can burn a copy of them. One CD can hold 1-1/2 hours of songs. You could easily get away with having two burned CD’s as the only music you need for the dance. You could even have a raffle and give away the burned CD’s as door prizes since a lot of people (like myself) love mixed CD’s.

    Umm….sorry… ILLEGAL!! You can legally make copies like this for yourself, for your own personal use, but distributing them, even for free, is illegal. Not a good idea.

    I went to one dance where the stake presidency had the responsibility of reading and reviewing every song’s lyrics. If that is going to happen, I do not think the stake should be in charge. Stake presidencies are so busy anyway with their regular work, adding to that reading a few hundred songs’ lyrics

    This is something that our DJ, who is a former member of the Stake YM presidency was doing. He’s still our DJ, but I’ve sort of taken over the role as “music approver”, since I’m in the Stake YW and this subject of “appropriate music” happens to be one of my passions and I actually do seminars on the topic.
    With Youth Conference coming up, I sent out a form to all the ward YM and YW presidencies
    for their youth to suggest songs they’d like added to the repetoire, so that they can be pre-screened. We simply have the rule, “if the song hasn’t been prescreened, it doesn’t get played.”
    I also gave them all my email address, so that as the year goes on and new popular songs come on the market, they can email me with any further song suggestions. It only takes 2 minutes to pull up a lyric sheet online and decide whether or not it’s appropriate.

    You can buy dance tapes and CD’s for a few dollars at Walmart. Most of the music is church appropriate, and they are specifically designed for dances.

    This is so untrue that my head is spinning. Most of the songs on these types of compilation CD’s are NOT appropriate for church sponsored dances. Either Bradley is one of the youth who can sing all the lyrics to these songs but still doesn’t realize what’s coming out of his mouth, or he’s buying compilation CD’s distributed by PBS, featuring the many hits of Barney, Grover, Big Bird, Dora The Explorer and Clifford The Big Red Dog.
    Seriously, once you get into the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, you’d be surprised how many of the hits are totally inappropriate, most of us just don’t realize it. We think that if it’s an “oldy” it must be a “goody”, but if we went back and read all the lyrics to our favorite songs back then, we’d be surprised at what we thought was a good song. And even the Kid’s Pop compilation CD’s that have little kids singing Karaoke style to popular songs are very often inappropriate songs.

  • Oregonian July 2, 2007, 10:23 pm

    Tracy, I really like what you said. Didn’t you write an article about music? I can’t find it now. But I was lauging because I think lots of what you said was already talked about in the comments above. At least all the legal stuff.

  • facethemusic July 2, 2007, 10:26 pm

    Oh, and one more thing:
    I’ll bet that “Butterfly Kisses” was shut off because it was country, and alot of the kids started whining about it being a cheesy country song, not because of offensive content. (Don’t get me wrong, I like the song, and I like country music, way more than most pop) But I also know that most teens are into pop/rock, not country.
    The song is about a father giving his daughter butterfly kisses when she says her prayers at night, then she gets older, starts dating, and he remembers her being little wanting butterfly kisses, then she’s getting married and he’s walking her down the aisle.
    I promise– no one was offended. They just whined to the DJ and wanted something from the pop charts. Butterfly Kisses was around 1997-98, so they probably wanted something from Hanson, Sheryl Crow, or Puff Daddy, or the Dave Matthews Band.

  • facethemusic July 2, 2007, 10:27 pm

    But I was lauging because I think lots of what you said was already talked about in the comments above. At least all the legal stuff.

    Oh, really? Oooops, I didn’t read it all. Can you tell? :shamed:

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