Last week, I received an email from a college student doing some light reading online during spring break who happened upon a mention of a Battlestar Galactica actress who was supposedly in a cult. Deciding to do a little research:
"I only meant to stay on the internet for an hour or two but ended up spending four and a half hours reading through every single post and trying to look up information on my own. Reading through that thread and trying to digest the information on my own was a hell of a lot better than the last mystery novel I read! Actually...doing all of the research while reading the thread (for my own enjoyment) made it more like an interactive book. Super, super cool seeing all of these high profile people show up to respond in the thread! It was absolutely the single most intelligent, logical, and civil long discussion/argument I have ever seen on the internet and possibly in my life."
What does this have to do with a cappella, you ask?
The year was 2007, and a cappella festivals were just starting to pop up around the country, including a new one called A Cappella Innovations, in Albany. The unusual thing about this event was that none of the coordinators or sponsors had any links to a cappella prior to the event. They flew in groups and clinicians (including myself and the House Jacks), held the event, it went fine, and it was ramping up the following year when this thread appeared on the RARB forum (now the CASA forum).
I'll admit that Keith Raniere and his crew seemed a little odd, but I'm a pretty accepting individual, so I thought little of it... but once concerns were raised, future CASA president Julia Hoffman took me to task, basically saying "we need to know if this guy and organization are legitimate or not. We can't potentially have a cappella as a gateway to a new cult. Your silence is tacit support."
I happened to be on vacation in Hawaii at the time, but had internet access, so I logged into the forum, read the posts thus far, posted myself asking for open, civil discussion, and...
You'll have to read the thread to see what happens!
http://forums.casa.org/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=4412 [or scan the code]
Be sure to click on various links that take you to outside documents.
And remember this all happened in real time (each post time stamped) and nothing has been edited or changed in any way.
I'm not going to say any more just yet. Read the thread and post your comments below, to which I'll respond.
Deke Sharon founded CASA (and other stuff), makes TV shows ("The Sing-Off"), movies ("Pitch Perfect"), sings (The House Jacks), produces albums (Straight No Chaser, Street Corner Symphony, Committed, Nota, Bubs), wrote a book (A Cappella Arranging), publishes sheet music (Hal Leonard), and custom arranges music (over 2,000 songs). You can find him at www.dekesharon.com