According to an October 16, 2005 article in the Washington Post:
"In preparation for a guest appearance at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, the marching band at C.D. Hylton High School had a logical and seemingly innocuous idea: play a Georgia-themed song. They decided on 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia,' by the Charlie Daniels Band....I'm not a big fan of country-and-western music, but I remember "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," a crossover hit. In the late 1970's and on into the 1980's, I heard the piece on various radio stations and even in the New Year's Day Pasadena Rose Parade. Furthermore, the piece is a certain crowd pleaser in Georgia and a good choice for perfomance at the Peach Bowl.
"Daniels's song, which won a Grammy Award in 1979, is a tongue-in-cheek, tale about a devil heading down to Georgia and challenging a young man named Johnny to a fiddling duel. The stakes are high: If the devil plays a better tune, then he gets to keep Johnny's soul. But Johnny is too talented and beats the devil, winning a golden fiddle, and making Daniels's song a metaphor for the triumph of good over evil."
But one letter to a small local newspaper, intended merely to provoke a philosophical debate resulted in the following:
"But early this month, a local newspaper, the Potomac News, published a letter by a Woodbridge resident who, after having seen the C.D. Hylton Bulldawg Marching Band perform the country-western hit at a football game, wondered how a song about the devil could be played at school events, because of the separation of church and state.Emotions about the band director's decision are running high as various people type their reactions in to the web site:
"Fearing bad public reaction, Hylton's longtime band director, Dennis Brown, pulled the song from the playlist. 'I was just being protective of my students. I didn't want any negative publicity for C.D. Hylton High School,' he said.
"But Brown's strategy backfired. The decision has created a furor, and even Charlie Daniels has weighed in.
"'I am a Christian, and I don't write pro-devil songs. Most people seem to get it. It's a fun little song,' Daniels said Friday in a telephone interview from Mokena, Ill., where he was scheduled to perform a concert. 'I think it's a shame that the [marching band director] would yield to one piece of mail. If people find out that he can be manipulated that easily, he's going to have a hard way to go.'"
"'God have mercy. How did we become a country full of weenies who give into the cranky nonsense of 1 voice?' one person tapped out on a computer. 'I guess I need to go back to school. I thought the idea behind our country was that the majority ruled? You know, like the majority of people voted for the President's re-election and now the ruling party is knuckling under to every left wing nut out there? I give up!'Apparently the writer of the letter to the editor never intended to spark the withdrawal of "The Devil Went down to Georgia" from the band's list of pieces:
"A person identified as Ticked Off Parent chimed in: 'What's next? School Book Burnings because someone finds To Kill a Mockingbird offensive? Whoever started this should be banned from the school, NOT THE SONG!'"
"As for that nettlesome letter writer, Robert McLean? The defense contractor, whose children are home-schooled, said he went to Hylton's football game just because he enjoys the sport. His letter, he said, was meant to start a philosophical debate, not to wreck any student's marching band experience. Besides, he said, he loves 'Devil.'If a band piece performed without words can provoke such a reaction, I hate to think what including Faust, Dante's Inferno, or Dracula--all literary works which focus on the battle between good and evil--could result in.
"'It was one of the first 45s I had as a kid,' he said."
We have indeed become "a country full of weenies" and inoffensive, politically-correct fools when a marching band's choice of music can result in purging a mainstream selection from a performing group's repertoire!