June 22, 2005
Hitting A Low Note
A Capella News posts here and here about Bedford TX teenager Michael Rawls, a boy who was shut out of competing in a state-wide choral audition by the Texas Music Educators Association because Rawls is a counter-tenor (male soprano) and the TMEA rules only allow boys to sing male parts (tenor, bass) and girls to sing female parts (soprano, alto).
The TMEA claims that this limitation was instituted for the safety of students. My immediate reaction, this being Texas after all, was that this meant it did not want some boy getting the crap beat out of him for singing like a girl, but apparently the motivation is to prevent voice-strain.
This business is both silly and a shame. According to the posts, there is little or no safety concern in this case. Furthermore, there is a large reportoire of Baroque counter-tenor music from champions like Handel. I fail to see the value of discouraging talented young singers from exploring and taking advantage of that avenue of music through decisions like this.
Yips! to Lynn S.