HomeBlogsDekeSharon's blogThe One-Two Punch

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Granted, you’re gonna find wackos anywhere, but this seems to have struck a nerve with some people.

Imagine if it were a group of women; no one would be cheering, would they? Or the school band? It seems there’s something about a cappella music, specifically a male collegiate a cappella group, that has struck a nerve.

The vitriol includes statements like:

“the preps are getting put in their place”

“You can't walk around singin songs and not expect a little ass kickin”

“This is how my crew rolls... We bring the smackdown to glee clubs, barbershop quartets, scat singers and the occasional soloist”

“Thugs beat up glee club is not news -- Glee club beats up thugs, now THAT's news”

“A beatdown builds charachter, and these kids were squaaaaaaaaaares”

“It cant be legal for a group of adults to fly to across the country and try to have sex with minors. When I was in school anyone trying that kind of s--- would have also been in a fight.” 

And that’s just a fraction of what I’ve read these past 48 hours. 

On one hand, a male collegiate a cappella group is not particularly cool, by a traditional definition.  Preppy songbirds singing in coats and ties. Smells like the fast track to the old boys network to some, and to others it’s the opposite end of the musical spectrum from Nine Inch Nails, Bob Marley, or whatever music they appreciate and identify with.

And then on the other hand, a male collegiate a cappella group is a successful ensemble when it comes to attracting attention from the ladies. This whole situation appears to have resulted because a local didn’t like that the woman he’d set his sights on became interested in one of the guys after they sang a tune.

That’s the one-two punch: Not cool, so people feel comfortable putting you down to raise themselves up, and yet plenty cool enough to draw fans (especially female ones) on their campuses and beyond. There’s a perceived injustice: these guys are dorks (albeit advantaged, educated dorks) doing something dorky (collegiate a cappella) and yet women love them.

The Darwinist in me imagines us as cavemen, many generations ago, living out our lives as other animals did and do: one male attracts a female with a song, and another bonks him on the head in hopes of stealing her away, with other cave men cheering him on (perhaps because they prefer head-bonking to singing as a dating strategy). A big, loud, manly rock musician is perhaps OK, but some post-adolescent crooners shouldn’t be attracting anyone.

It’s all just jealousy and insecurity surfacing. It does help explain why some journalists take easy shots at collegiate a cappella, as they sense there’s an underlying resentment in some readers.

I’m still devoting my life to spreading harmony through harmony, and I know many of you are on the same path. Alas, today I feel like we’ve got a much longer road ahead of us than I ever realized. Music, especially vocal harmony, brings people together. Nothing new. But it also appears to create resentment, perhaps most definitively when sung by young men attracting young ladies.

I don’t have any pithy solutions or words of advice on this topic, I’m afraid. I’m still processing it all, and there may just be nothing more to say. No easy explanations or answers. Please feel free to post below if you have some thoughts.