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.

Posted by Robert at June 22, 2005 12:46 PM

Back in school I was a top tenor. Being able to break "fairly" freely into falsetto was critical to get those notes two octaves above middle C. Those E's to A's required daily training, and since leaving college, I've thought the notes...but never been able to reproduce them.

I'm just not interested in the regimen required to do so.

But for a young singer, learning how to control the tone as you slip over into falsetto is challenging, but harmful? Our choir director, Coach Ron, loved putting it to us (there were three of us that could get up there). And it didn't help that he was a tenor, too.

TMEA must not want young oboists to learn how to play above the two octave range, since it puts strain on the player. Imagine. Strain.

It woulda been like Gitmo.

Posted by: OregonGuy at June 22, 2005 02:17 PM

For the record: I have a GREAT singing voice, but no range whatsoever.

That being said, my verdict is: let the nancy boy sing!

Posted by: The Colossus at June 22, 2005 11:22 PM
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