HomeBlogsDekeSharon's blogThe Greatest A Cappella Mystery Ever W̶r̶i̶t̶t̶e̶n̶ Posted!

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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



What Happened?

Was there any further contact after your last post?  I see from news articles (nothing very recent, mind you) that controversy continued to follow Mr. Raniere in his endeavors.  I have also not ever heard his name associated with a cappella in the short time of my involvement. 

Leslie Ann Kekuewa
Pitches be Crazy

Nope, that was it

I was defriended on facebook by the many members of the NXIVM family I'd made (I lost perhaps 50 friends), which left the very clear impression that an edict had been issued by the Vanguard or Prefect that all communication with me must be cut off. Friends of mine - including other House Jacks - remain facebook friends with many, which makes it clear it was this line of inquiry that resulted in my status as pariah.

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com


Besides the event never happening again, it appears this was a blow to NXIVM's reputation, as they appear to have never regained the momentum or status they had a decade ago, before this happened.

I still wish all the individual members of the organization well, and hope they all find true, deep happiness, the lack of which can make one vulnerable to a cult. 

As for anyone else out there who has unlocked the secret to a higher level of global ethical behavior, I recommend you offer that training for free... and charge for your a cappella seminars.

If you're one of the world's greatest problem solvers, you would of course have figured that out on your own. 

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com


Interesting bit of strangeness, but I'm starting to wonder what Deke's getting at here...  I'll be patient and wait for the big reveal...

I did notice that the "Cult Awareness Network" (CAN) happened to have the same name as the "Contemporary A Cappella Newsletter" (CAN) which Deke used to publish (as an actual ink-on-paper mailed-with-a-stamp pre-blog for CASA). Maybe Deke's been a cult leader this whole time.  Oh no! I just realized I'm in a cult! 

Ken Purchase, A Cappella Old Guy.


You are indeed in a big cult. Now send me my $30,000 so I can send you your sash. 

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

More Info....

I have tried to update my original post with the link to the latest series of articles I found (dated 22 Feb 2012) but when I add the link this site thinks I'm not human and will not update.  The series of aricles are at timesunionDOTcomSLASHnxivm.  Interesting stuff...

Leslie Ann Kekuewa
Pitches be Crazy

Good find!

Thanks, Leslie. Excellent additional material. I am contacted every year by journalists, researchers and laypersons who come across this thread and are astounded. Together, our little community drew a cult leader into the open in a manner many had never seen before nor have seen since. 

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

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