Playing "Dixie" In The State Capitiol Draws Complaint

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As if the incoming Legislature doesn't have enough problems, a high school band's rendition of a tune that was an Elvis Presley hit decades ago has drawn a complaint from a newly elected member of the Senate.

The Richland Center High School band played "An American Trilogy" at the Senate's inaugural ceremony at the Capitol yesterday.

Senator Spencer Coggs, who is black, says he was shocked, as were his family and other guests, to hear the strains of the Southern anthem "Dixie" played in the Senate chamber as part of the trilogy, along with "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "All My Trials."

The Milwaukee Democrat says "Dixie" is often associated with slavery.

He complained in a letter to Republican Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz from Richland Center -- the man who invited the band and choir to perform.

Coggs says the slight may not have been intentional, but the selection was inappropriate ... and he wants to make sure songs at future ceremonies are submitted in advance for review.

Schultz says the complaint took him by surprise ... but he'll gladly apologize to Coggs or anyone else offended by the selection.