From CNN we have a report of a unique situation in Texas. TMEA, widely regarded as the best of the state music education associations has denied the petition of a male high school student to audition as a soprano for the All-State Choir. This situation is fraught with all sorts of issues. Not the least of which is: Is it right?
I will not enter into this thicket with an opinion. I am happy to report that the parents have rejected overtures from attorney’s to file a suit against TMEA. Hopefully there will be a "middle ground" found to allow a clearly talented student to have the chance to participate.
BEDFORD, Texas (AP) — Singing soprano is for girls only in Texas' elite All-State Choir, eliminating a 17-year-old boy's chance to audition for a statewide honor and raising questions about gender discrimination.
The Texas Music Educators Association on June 15 denied a request from Mikhael Rawls to audition this fall as a soprano, a part traditionally sung by girls. Rawls sings countertenor, a little known male voice part that has surged in popularity in classical and operatic circles. He can sing an octave and a half higher than most boys his age, and he feels most comfortable singing in that range.
He has even won first place as a soprano in the University Interscholastic League's competition two years in a row.
The association, however, does not allow boys to sing soprano or alto, or girls to sing tenor or bass.
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