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Iowa Band’s ‘Beer Song’ Criticized

January 31, 2001 GMT

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) _ The beer song has gone flat.

The University of Iowa marching band still plays the polka tune ``In Heaven There Is No Beer.″ But the musicians no longer alternate their instrumental work with singing because a parent complained about the words:

``In heaven, there is no beer. That’s why we drink it here. And when we’re gone from here, all our friends will be drinkin’ all the beer.″

The lyrics send the wrong message, the parent, Tom Aunan, wrote last month in an e-mail to Iowa administrators.

``The message is excessive drinking,″ he wrote. ``I don’t think it’s right for our band to be promoting that kind of a message to our fans, especially our young fans.″

The song has been played for about 20 years after victories by the Hawkeye football and basketball teams. It wasn’t played much last fall because the football team won just three games, but it has been popular this winter because 10 of the basketball team’s 16 wins have been at home.

The song isn’t meant to promote drinking, said Les Steenlage, administrative associate in the Iowa athletics department.

``I think fans react more to the polka style and upbeat tempo,″ he said. ``To us, it isn’t sending a message and it isn’t meant to send a message, either. It’s just a celebration song.″


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