Thursday, June 30, 2005

another sad (bs gender bias) song

17-year old Mikhael Rawls is a singer classified as a countertenor that can comfortably sing in the soprano range. As a matter of fact, he's won first place as a soprano in a University interscholastic league competetition two years in a row. None of this matters to the Texas Music Educators Association because 2 years ago they enacted rules that limit auditions for vocal programs/choirs by gender. Mikhael can't even audition because he has a penis. In Texas, only girls are allowed to sing as sopranos and altos; tenor and bass is for the boys. Rawls requested the association to change the rules make them gender neutral (or include contratenor) but the request was declined:
Association spokeswoman Amy Lear said the group enacted the rule two years ago because of concerns that girls auditioning for tenor parts were hurting their voices by singing too low.

"If you make a rule one way it has to work both ways," Lear said, adding that the association does not hold auditions specifically for countertenors because the part is rarely included in the group's music.
According to Rawls, he prefers singing at the upper end of his vocal range because singing at the lower range makes his throat hurt (which, btw, could possibly be a sign of strain to reach those lower notes and lead to problems with his voice). I'm guessing the girls who auditioned as tenors were probably contraltos who, like Rawls, end up stuck singing in a range they are not comfortable in due to this rule. Well at least they're hurting both boys and girls equally, but that doesn't make it any less assinine.

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