"Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A CAPPELLA Glo

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Do you think Mickey Rapkin does a good job of portraying the a cappella world in his book, "Pitch Perfect"?

Yes
15
56%
No
12
44%
 
Total votes : 27

Postby H.F. » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:25 am

divisigal wrote:I remember when Divisi was just starting out, UO's On the Rocks was flying in a member of Hyannis Sound (I believe) to help them with their choreography so they could beat the UC Men's Octet that year at Quarterfinals because the octet had taken choreo to a new level.


With respect to divisigal, I think we all need to stop and reflect on this sentence for a second. Nah, the ICCAs aren't about choreo...at allllll....wow.
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I smell a stinky thread hijack coming on....

Postby christophermd » Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:30 am

H.F. wrote:
divisigal wrote:I remember when Divisi was just starting out, UO's On the Rocks was flying in a member of Hyannis Sound (I believe) to help them with their choreography so they could beat the UC Men's Octet that year at Quarterfinals because the octet had taken choreo to a new level.


With respect to divisigal, I think we all need to stop and reflect on this sentence for a second. Nah, the ICCAs aren't about choreo...at allllll....wow.


I'm so not EVEN going to go there.

Christopher M. Diaz | ICCA & CARA Judge | FSU ANY '08 | Mouth Off! co-founder/host

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Postby billhare » Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:20 am

The H to the F wrote:Nah, the ICCAs aren't about choreo...at allllll....wow.


I won't respond to that with words, but instead with interpretive dance.

(If you could only see me now...)

-B

Bill Hare Some dude who records and mixes people who can't play instruments. http://www.dyz.com

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Postby joanhare » Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:24 am

divisigal wrote:I still remember when Esther from BYU's Noteworthy came up to a few of us that year and said they were going to start a women's group at their school. (Although the book says something different), when I heard that Noteworthy had won at finals in NYC last year, I felt so excited for those women, knowing why they were there and that we had all been a part of each other's "aca-journeys."

Like Dave said, I believe we all have a great respect for each other and that's what made competeing so much fun!


A big amen to divisigal!

This is one of the two main reasons that, at the age of 68, I'm a huge American Idol fan.

It warms my heart to see the love and respect that those kids, who share such a unique experience, have for each other, despite the fact that they are competitors with so much at stake.

The other reason is because I can enjoy their immense talent, just as I did with all the Stanford groups back at Astral Sounds. (No, we didn't choose that name. But we kept it because it was an "A" in the phone book.)
Joan Hare
Bill Hare's former business partner
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Postby joanhare » Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:29 am

billhare wrote:I won't respond to that with words, but instead with interpretive dance.

(If you could only see me now...)


Believe me, it's not a pretty sight.
Joan Hare
Bill Hare's former business partner
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Postby H.F. » Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:30 am

:)
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Re: I smell a stinky thread hijack coming on....

Postby divisigal » Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:13 pm

christopherMD wrote:
H.F. wrote:
divisigal wrote:I remember when Divisi was just starting out, UO's On the Rocks was flying in a member of Hyannis Sound (I believe) to help them with their choreography so they could beat the UC Men's Octet that year at Quarterfinals because the octet had taken choreo to a new level.


With respect to divisigal, I think we all need to stop and reflect on this sentence for a second. Nah, the ICCAs aren't about choreo...at allllll....wow.


I'm so not EVEN going to go there.


Oops. Not that it makes much difference, but I need to make a correction to my own post since I gave wrong info as pointed out by my hubby (Mr. Hollens of OTR). They flew out Jim Harrington from Hyannis only to "workshop" them, NOT for choreo sake. They just needed to raise the bar overall in terms of professionalism, arrangements, etc. and Jim was just coming to help out as a friend. Anyway, my point still stands that the Octet pushed OTR to a new level and thus continued the evolution of West Coast a cappella...
Evynne Hollens
Founding member of UO's Divisi
Women's a cappella est. 2001
Group Member '01-'06
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Postby mikex » Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:41 am

Look on the bright side Don... if a movie is made... I'm sure they will cast the likes of Jack Nicholson or Joe Pesci to play you... :D
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agreed

Postby bananarama » Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:38 pm

I just got back from 24 hours in a van and 15 hours in California (does anyone else see a problem with this??? When are we going to invent teleporters, already?!?!?) with the Divas and Mamas of 2002-2008 (that's current ladies and alumna, in case you were wondering). We laughed, we cried, we sang, and we swore like sailors. Well, I did, anyway. And of course, we talked about THE BOOK. The Mamas were able to clarify a lot of the incorrect "facts" listed for the Divas, especially as it related to how much DIVISI LOVES NOTEWORTHY. And how much the feeling is mutual. Or at least, how it used to be mutual, and how badly we want for it to ALWAYS be mutual. We also talked about how much we love Fermata Nowhere, The Octet, Vocal Point, the Golden Overtones, SoCal Vocals and MORE!!!

If anything in particular can be responsible for group rivalries and fights, I'm going to put my bets on 24 hour car rides, bellies full of junk food, and not having spoken to anyone of another gender for at least a day and a half.

If the groups profiled in THE BOOK had written their chapters, they would be true. And probably boring. As frustrated and even, at times, angry as I am about LOTS of things in the book, I try to counter my emotion with one of extreme gratitude: towards the people who helped Divisi get to the ICCA Finals in 2005, towards the people who helped Divisi get to where they are today, and towards the people who have discovered Divisi as a direct result of this book.


Anna Corbett
Divisi '02-'06
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Postby Mahka » Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:48 pm

I just pulled this from Amanda's blog (who is about to be the next aca-wedding!), but did anyone else know that NPR did a story on it?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... d=91028150
~Mark
Formerly of the UCLA ScatterTones
Looking for a group in SF?
ICCA/ICHSA Judge, Producer
CARA Nominator/Judge
And all that jazz
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Postby brianpatrick » Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:11 am

Mahka wrote:I just pulled this from Amanda's blog (who is about to be the next aca-wedding!), but did anyone else know that NPR did a story on it?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... d=91028150


Yes...whether you're a fan of Mickey Rapkin or can't stand the guy for what he's done to you, your group, or this crazy aca-world, his a cappella blog is often interesting, occasionally superfluous, and filled with links to interviews, video clips, etc. Check it out at:


http://pitchperfect-thebook.blogspot.com/

Though some posts may be directly related to his book (as suggested by the NPR interview) there are just as many - if not more - that are not self-promoting.
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Postby brianpatrick » Sat Jun 21, 2008 9:27 am

DekeSharon wrote:I also think there's an unhealthy obsession with what's cool and what isn't. It's as if that's a crucial perspective from which to view or judge anything and everything. Why does it matter so much if it's cool? And, taking the subject of people singing post-college, who cares? People like to sing, and they should. Not everything has to be cool. I think this is a limitation of having the person who writes the book be a senior editor at GQ; he sees the world with a far greater concern toward what's cool than most people.


I must say that while I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I do agree with this point. Plenty of people are proud of their aca-past, regardless of whether they go on to careers in music, sing at karaoke night, or never sing a note outside of their shower ever again. And as Mickey points out in the book (though with a large degree of implied incredulity), a cappella singers are pretty popular on their campuses.

All that said, when the a cappella community is portrayed and perceived as it was on Conan O'Brien the other night (http://pitchperfect-thebook.blogspot.com/2008/06/anne-hathaways-cappella-past-revealed.html), how does one escape the discussion of the dichotomy of whether a cappella is "cool" or "geeky"? As Ms. Hathaway puts it, "a cappella is its own unique brand of geekdom...I mean, it's kind of like an offshoot from theatre nerddom." Over my 31 years, I have proudly worn the title of geek, nerd, theatre geek and/or nerd, AND a cappella geek and/or nerd. Personally, I don't find anything wrong with those terms, and if people deem a cappella as "geeky", then fine. As we're seeing more and more these days, geek = chic!

Basically, I am left to wonder that while I feel too much time is spent in the book looking at a cappella from an outsiders' POV (the reader who starts with the perspective of, "who are these geeks, anyway?"), isn't the public perception of a cappella something that one can't help but address in a book like this?

Thoughts?
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Postby jduchan » Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:45 am

bstevens wrote:...so far as I can tell, he doesn't intend to offer an ethnographic survey, and I would hate to seem as if complaining about why he didn't write what I would rather read. [...] The book helps me to realize that what I _do_ want to read _is_ precisely a survey, a summary, a history, an ethnography of contemporary a cappella music, one less interested in telling a good story than in telling the whole story. (Joshua Duchan, care to collaborate?) I want to read more about what actually has taken place within the community, and much, much less about the consistently stupid, gee-whiz reactions of uninformed media flacks, not to mention the evidently unresolved issues of those celebrities who downplay their ... 'a cappella history' (!). Celebrity ex-singers may bring in the browsers but, in terms of actual importance, are the smallest of small change.


Thanks, Ben. Sure! I'm game. I think your comments are spot on: it wasn't Rapkin's goal to be comprehensive in any way, that's why he can dispense with 2000 years of a cappella history in a few pages, get away without citing most of his sources, etc. Instead, he was out to weave a good, dramatic story from the threads that already exist in our world.

I just had an article on collegiate a cappella published in a scholarly journal, technically before Rapkin's book was officially published (see "Collegiate A Cappella: Emulation and Originality" in American Music Vol. 25, No. 4, Winter 2007: 477-506), have another one being reviewed by a different journal, and am working on putting together a book of my own--one whose goal is more along the lines of what you're looking for, Ben (and I'm happy to bounce some ideas around with you!).

Joshua S. Duchan, Ph.D.

Department of Music, Wayne State University

Univ. of Michigan Amazin' Blue, 2001-2007

Univ. of Pennsylvania Counterparts, 1999-2001

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Postby jduchan » Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:47 am

acafella58 wrote:
bstevens wrote: ...I want to read more about what actually has taken place within the community, and much, much less about the consistently stupid, gee-whiz reactions of uninformed media flacks, not to mention the evidently unresolved issues of those celebrities who downplay their ... 'a cappella history' (!).


More or less, that's what my goal is with Entrepreneurs in Song.

Don Gooding
www.ac100.org


Sounds good... let's put our heads together! :)

Joshua S. Duchan, Ph.D.

Department of Music, Wayne State University

Univ. of Michigan Amazin' Blue, 2001-2007

Univ. of Pennsylvania Counterparts, 1999-2001

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Postby jduchan » Mon Jun 30, 2008 7:00 am

LCMike wrote:...I'm happy to see our little corner of the world get some light, but am disappointed to see it done in way that reeks of yellow journalism. I know it's better for sales, but it's just not fair to those who have been essentially defamed.

My question is to those involved - did you have any sort of understanding of the direction Rapkin was taking with his book when he was interviewing you?

-Mike


Rapkin interviewed me several years ago (I think it was the fall of 2005), back when he wasn't writing a book, but rather just an article for GQ. The article never ran, but we can all see what he did with the material. Anyway, even back then he seemed focused on the question of whether collegiate a cappella is cool or not, and I got the impression that he had already concluded the answer was "it's not." From my reading of his book (and I'm on page 223 and counting), the issue is still very much present. He discusses it explicitly near the beginning, framing the stories that follow. And though he doesn't clearly take a side, it is clear that that's the underlying question he's interested in. All the drama that follows illuminates that issue (often humorously, or questionably, depending on the reader!).

As others may have mentioned, I think this is an interesting question to ask--and certainly one that will interest a publisher, an NPR or BBC producer, and even Hollywood producers--but certainly not the only question worth asking. I, for one, am also/more interested in questions about the music, about the factors (internal and external) that affect the practice of a cappella, and about a cappella's history and historical moment. Would a book addressing those questions be as much of a page-turner as Rapkin's or inspire a movie? I hope so, but probably not. But it would offer a different perspective on the music we love, asking different--and equally valuable--questions. Pitch Perfect is a great way to open the door to a cappella, but as all the contributors to this discussion thread can probably attest, it's certainly not the definitive or final word on the subject!

Joshua S. Duchan, Ph.D.

Department of Music, Wayne State University

Univ. of Michigan Amazin' Blue, 2001-2007

Univ. of Pennsylvania Counterparts, 1999-2001

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