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RARB/CASA Forums • View topic - A Cappella Innovations

A Cappella Innovations

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Postby borski » Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:41 am

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Postby AMalkoff » Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:11 am

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Postby mwhitehouse » Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:39 pm

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Postby livingfiction » Mon Apr 14, 2008 7:52 pm

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Postby kevin47 » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:22 pm

Open question: Why do we care?

If NIHM or whatever is a cult, don't join.

If a cult wants to put on a free a cappella festival, take advantage.

If you want to join the cult, feel free.

I mean, college felt like a cult at times to me, right down to the all-veg meals. I broke free, somehow, though I retained my appreciation for soy milk.

I recently stayed at a hotel in San Francisco. It was creepy. Literally everything was for sale, including the wet bar, the coffee (!), the bathrobe, the bed (!!)... Everything. Not only was I staying in a room, I was engaging in a purchasing experience.

Fortunately, my company sprung for the room (and how) so what do I care. Did I buy a $4000 bed? Of course not.

Take the freebies and run, people. And if you are shopping for paradigms, subscribe to a newsletter or two.
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A Cappella Innovations

Postby LRSalzman » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:35 pm

Hi Deke,

I read your post to Clare stating “That’s not to say that it’s not possible for new information to be presented,” which I take to mean you are open to new data. If this is truly the case, Keith’s offer is still on the table.

What I understand is the following:

1. There are accusations against Keith
2. These cause you to feel he is not trustworthy
3. Keith wants to gain your trust and wants to know what he needs to do
4. He is willing to place himself up for review against a trust standard you define
5. He is willing to give you (or a representative of your choice) less restricted access to data and his life
6. He is willing to meet you (or your representative) in person and provide such data, given you agree to appropriate non-disclosure.

Based on the above—and most importantly—he is asking you to make an informed evaluation.

If there is no possible way for Keith to earn your trust, then there is no reason for him to clarify any of the data points in question. However, if there is a way for him to earn your trust, tell him what it is you need to see with specificity, and be willing to stand by your request as the determining factor.

It’s your right to withdraw your support from ACI, and take an oppositional stance against ACI, NXIVM or Keith through boycott. In fact (and I think Keith would agree with me), boycott is an extremely effective and humanitarian form of protest. However, if you’re boycotting because you’re not willing to put forth the effort necessary to fully evaluate, then we should be honest about that. If you truly give Keith an opportunity to earn your trust and he fails to meet your standards, that’s a different issue compared to there being no way for him to earn your trust because you’re closed to examining and evaluating data.

I see only three ways for you to address Keith’s offer:

1. Accepting his offer and, after evaluation, being satisfied with the process and findings, which would change everything
2. Accepting his offer and, after evaluation, being dissatisfied—but at least your dissatisfaction would be informed and definitive
3. You decline his offer and choose to not put forth the effort to evaluate, which will cast these proceedings in a very different light

On a personal level, I feel you are a prominent figure in the a cappella community and I have tremendous respect for you and your position. Given this, your decision now is a defining moment, not only for yourself, but for those whose values you represent with your voice.

I feel a clear decision from you is necessary now for us to move forward.
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Postby livingfiction » Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:41 pm

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Postby appbigcountry » Tue Apr 15, 2008 12:26 am

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Postby RnBMrE » Tue Apr 15, 2008 5:33 am

Matt Emery Three-time Recipient of RARB "Post of the Year" Title

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Re: A Cappella Innovations

Postby dekesharon » Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:48 am

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

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Postby UnifiedVoice » Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:02 am

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Postby LRSalzman » Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:29 pm

Hi Deke,

My impression based on your last post to Clare is you are open to data and reevaluating your position against ACI in this thread. Although it’s not my opinion the philosophy of “everything public” is always the best ethical process, it’s important to me to address your concerns. Thus, if you provide a list of the data you would need to see to change your perspective and subsequent boycott of ACI, I will do my best to get it to you pending it does not violate ethical process, other people’s privacy, or our legal case. Please keep the list to the essential data that, when examined, would satisfy your concerns and need not be further questioned.

I’m confident we can come to a positive resolution for all involved. I hope you feel the same.
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Postby dekesharon » Thu Apr 17, 2008 6:10 pm

Lauren,

I really appreciate your persistence.

Thanks for understanding my not wanting to fly to Albany and meet with Keith. I'm not Mike Wallace, and I'm not interested in similarly meeting with Rick Ross, the various reporters who wrote the stories, the various people who report breakdowns (and perhaps the family of the girl who committed suicide), anyone who has been sued, etc.

And I'm not interested in signing a non-disclosure agreement, for the obvious reason that I don't want to have any legal agreements with an organization that's embroiled in 3-4 million dollars of lawsuits currently.

Plus, as I've said, it's all about one big open discussion. Here, since this is where it started.

As for information I'd like to see (and again, it's not just about me), there are a number of questions that remain unanswered on this thread. That would be a good start (and maybe end - can't know where information will lead).

And, of course, you're welcome to post anything here that does support Nxivm's position (doesn't just have to be something that was asked for).

And, since you opened the subject, why isn't "everything public" "always the best ethical process," when Nxivm's own materials taut the importance of 100% honestly, 100% disclosure?

This may seem like a silly question, but I'm serious. Ghandi and his followers faced harm, mutilation and death for their ethical stance and nonviolent resistance. Great masses of people maimed and killed. Jesus refused to repent and was killed, and many who have followed his path have followed suit. Socrates refused to recant his teachings and was killed. The ethical life is the courageous life, with truth paramount.

There's no death on the line here (just perhaps tipping your hand in a lawsuit?) why not be completely open with Nxivm's materials? Why not forget the patents and go ahead and post and share everything?

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

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Postby bstevens » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:30 pm

For most of this week I have refrained from posting out of uncertainty and, I'll admit, a certain fatigue: I've written more than 3000 words on this topic, mainly trying to encourage a public generosity of tone and appropriate questions and trying to decide, personally, what the relevant answers to those questions might be. The first has been easy, given the quality and sincerity of posters, well-praised already by Jonathan, Michael, and others.

The second has been harder. As I've written, I personally did not feel pressure about NXIVM or anything similar at either festival, although I know people who did, and like many of us I enjoyed working with Clare and others. I've also tried to be clear about my feeling that certain sorts of things are not usefully asked about in a public setting: I have not and will not ask for personal beliefs to be described, much less justified, when the context is a professional one.

But in this case it seems that some of the personal beliefs in question are both directed towards particular practices at the festival and, complicatedly, related to membership in NXIVM. For example, workshop leaders and others have described how their membership in NXIVM impacts their participation in and conduct of the festival; and the festival is clearly tied to that organization at inspirational and operational levels. Since NXIVM has not and, at this point, seemingly cannot submit its claims to ordinary public scrutiny, I must balance my preferred agnosticism, including simple disinterest in learning more about the organization, with my active commitments as an educator, intellectual, and public figure.

As things stand, I must withdraw from future A Cappella Innovations until such time as either (1) NXIVM and associated organizations and individuals see their claims to probity and to knowledge vindicated not through private communication, however sincere, but through legitimate public channels including peer-reviewed journals and the independent press; or (2) the festival and its musical goals are clearly separated from NXIVM, associated organizations, and their goals. Until then, it seems that the great musical good accomplished by the festival is unavoidably and, I think, unnecessarily complicated by NXIVM's troubling and troubled public record.

Benjamin Stevens

CASA Director of Education

Educational Officer for Festivals and Events

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Audience, Joy, A Capella

Postby EricMumford » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:30 pm

== New ==
I've never posted here. I don't even sing well, and I don't belong to the A Capella social crowd. I do know that I enjoyed meeting everyone I met, NXIVM or not, during the ACI event, so I feel that this post belongs in this thread.

== Crust ==
Some believe Eduard Seuss was the first to use the word "biosphere" to describe the layer of life surrounding the earth. My first experience of the layer of voices surrounding my definition of what musicality "is" was A Capella Innovations... so as far as those who performed and attended A Capella Innovations at The Egg in Albany, NY, I had a wonderful time! I must admit however, I was extremely gifted in ways you all were not. My brother and sister were both helping to film the event, and I got to share a brief hug-and-kiss hello to both of them. My Mother attended Friday, and I got a hug-and-hello out of her, and my Father attended Sunday - he sat up in the higher seats while I sat in the lower, but we caught up afterward. The performances blew me away, but in the end, the highlight was catching up with family and friends. (I apologize for capitalizing Mother and Father, and beg your patience; I was brought up with perhaps an overdeveloped sense of family...)

== Valencia! ==
I first took a NXIVM class in 2001 I guess it was, long ago it seems, before all of this huff-and-puff about cults and what-have-you. It was an easier time, so to speak, it was "just a class", a little different than others, as those who took the coursework quickly and joyfully found. I had taken leadership weekends, corporate trainings, etc before, and I heard about this particular class through my mom, and her review was so colorful and joyful I figured, Why Not? She had a high BS filter and had taught classes her whole adult life, so I figured it must be good.

So honestly? I never thought I'd be a cult member. :) So when RR first came out screaming CULT, I sort of laughed. (It was similar to when I managed to earn my first trophy in programming assembly language on an Apple II... the popular kids screamed out DORK or GEEK and trust me about 5-8 variations on the theme...) I am trying to remember where I was in my life when the "Cult" thing first happened - I think I was working at a fitness club in Saratoga. I remember chuckling sort of half-disbelievingly, like, if this is a cult, what does that make me? Do I -have- to serve jello-shots at parties now, or...?? I was a graduate of RPI in Troy NY, in a happy relationship with a hot girl, had a good job, I had earned a certification in my field, had a good apartment, great family, bla bla bla. I definitely didn't fit the cult cookie-cutter outline and to this day I am confident I'm not in a cult.

But I quickly found that

WHAT I BELIEVED DIDN'T MATTER:

as my friends and family read the articles, they raised a hairy eyebrow toward me. The printed word has amazing powerl, even if its based on made-up shit! There were some difficult times, including tearful confrontations with relatives who believed I was brainwashed. It was hard for me. As time passed, some of them realized one vital thing: I, Eric, was still... me. I was still Eric. And that bucks the entire brainwashing premise of a Cult. Cults are short term power trips; they rely on group-adaptation of memorization of values, and discourage critical evaluation. My personal experience of NXIVM is the opposite of all of these precepts.

So, here we are, 2008, about five years later; Keith Raniere is my friend. I could describe how I graduated RPI with an Electrical Engineering degree and studied Schrodinger and Nikola Tesla, and other geek heroes of mine, who were all socially slaughtered in their day, but it wouldn't matter. I could describe Walt Whitman's work, "Song of Myself: A Poem of Walt Whitman, An American" and challenge all of you to read through it without hot tears welling up in your eyes, and shivers of human justice and truth thumping in your breast, but it wouldn't matter. If you want to think NXIVM is something else, you will. If you want to believe Keith is anything other than what he really is... you just will, and that's okay.

With bald honesty and undressed selflessness I proudly stand behind this personal truth with all 6-foot-6 of my volleyball-ness!: I walk this earth blessed by my experience that if you believe in such a thing as angels, that Ivy Nevares, Clare Bronfman, and Lauren Salzman are such. They are humble, real people, whose words contain none other but honesty, truth, and justice. It is so f--king rare (before meeting the NXIVM community, I would have reacted with equal or greater skepticism than many of you rear the wherewithall to type) that any person in their lifetime meets someone that they can connect to in a truly heartfelt, completely honest, straightforward light; as such, it is completely understandable, if not blithefully accepted, that those of you who have not had this experience would take up arms against such proclaimers..

(...And I would walk five-ah-hundred-miles!) ...sorry.

Personally? Truly? I hope to enjoy Keith Rainere's friendship until the end of my days.

After having patiently read the posts during these past weeks, I am convinced that nothing I will write will convince anyone to change their minds - and that's fine, it couldn't really be any other way anyhow.

I met some great, honest people during ACI and the 10c party. I am so happy to have met both a capella and "non" a capella people during the three-day weekend. I was in fact "the male friend" who asked Ally if she was okay during the 10c party... ooh, I'm a celebrity now by inference! I was also the really tall guy who volunteered to help work the door. I met many of you on the way into the 10c thing.

I have taken coursework in NXIVM on-and-off for about five years. I personally know the executive members of this committee personally. I am friends with all of them and would trust them as I would trust myself - out of experience, not out of published document.

There is nothing I can write that will change anyone's mind; and I'm okay with that, even though I sort of wish I -did- have that power, as there's just so much BS out there. Having been on a computer longer than most of you, I can warn you gently that typing posts on a bulletin board can only give you so much; I would encourage you all that if you love a capella, please continue to invest your heart and soul into everything that you love about it. I have researched NXIVM for over 5 years, and my research has turned up nothing but honestly, compassion, and a curiosity for the human struggle - which, in the end, is to build something greater than ourselves.

Honestly? That's the stuff of poetry. That's the language of heart. It's that thing, that thing that you're looking for that you can't quite place your finger on. There's nobody posting on this board (or anywhere online) that's taken the course who thinks its crazy. I think I've read one or two instances where that was true, and in each case, the circumstances were out of this world... I beg each of you to check your sources, and your sources' sources.

I guess that's my input. Not that it matters, but I know there's a lot of great people reading this board, and I guess I'm posting because I'd like to know more of you, I personally know NXIVM is on the up-and-up, and I also personally suspect that many of you could be great friends.

best,
eric
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