By Shereen Siewert

The Wausau West High School choir director and principal will make a final determination on whether performers at the annual school Pop Concert can perform without a mask, following a narrow School Board vote Thursday.

The concert series begins Friday at Wausau West, and marks a decades-long tradition for the choir programs at the school. The newly-elected members of the board have not yet been sworn in, so the existing board members made the decision during a special meeting.

Superintendent Keith Hilts said no large choirs will perform at this year’s concert, but 22 acts will perform including no more than six people per group. Social distancing measures will be enforced, with performers at least six feet from one another, removing masks only while performing. The longest single act is four-minutes long, Hilts said, and audience members would be at least 15 feet from performers. Audience members will wear masks.

Last year’s Pop Concert was canceled.

Board member Jane Rusch said she understood that when singing, a 12-foot space between performers is necessary because of the range of air expelled in a vocal performance. School personnel said a six-foot space is possible, but a 12-foot space would be unlikely.

Board members voted 5-4 to allow the director and principal to make a final decision on masks for performers. Pat McKee, Lance Trollop, Jim Buche, Lee Webster and Jeff Leigh voted in favor, while Tricia Zunker, Ka Lo, Jane Rusch and Beth Martin voted against.

Concerts are set for Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday and will be Livestreamed in addition to the in-person showings.