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April 2, 2005

Controversial singing group allowed back

Daily Pennsylvanian (PA):

Known for putting audience members outside of their comfort zones with raunchy lyrics, the all-male a cappella group Pennsylvania Six-5000 was readmitted into the Performing Arts Council after its expulsion a year ago. Penn Six, which performs parodies about getting drunk and having sex, was kicked out of the organization last year for missing three PAC meetings. As part of the deal for readmittance, the group may have to tone down some of its shows. "This year ... if they feel that something is inappropriate for the venue, they won't do it," said College junior and PAC member Joshua Lannik.

Tuesday night was the group's fourth attempt at reclaiming its PAC membership. This was the group's final opportunity to be readmitted before the council institutes a new amendment that would prevent groups from applying more than twice. One of the main concerns expressed at the PAC meeting was the appropriateness of Penn Six's content and its reflection on the PAC community. "We don't lie about what we do. We don't claim to have a G-rated show," Penn Six President Arthur Gradstein said, asking that council members recognize the group's right to present content that may be controversial.

Freedom of expression outweighed concerns about content, as PAC voted 30-3 in an open ballot to reinstate the group. One representative from each PAC-recognized group was eligible to vote. "We want a group who does give back to the community to be a part of us," said College freshman and PAC member Shane Wagman in recognition of Penn Six's performance at the Martin Luther King multi-cultural coffee house and the Sigma Chi fraternity's tsunami fundraiser. Council members also cited the group's professionalism and organizational change as reasons for its reinstatement.

Since its dismissal from PAC, Penn Six has self-produced several performances, including three shows at the Rotunda -- two of which were oversold. However, a renewed membership with PAC will make it easier for the group to schedule shows and find rehearsal space, Gradstein, a Wharton senior, said. The group lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the University after being kicked out, he added. Being a member of PAC also has financial benefits.

Since the group was kicked out of PAC, Penn Six's funding from the Student Activities Council has been frozen. Without financial assistance from SAC, Penn Six members contributed money from their own wallets to produce the fall show. The group is using the proceeds from last semester's performance to finance its spring show. Penn Six is currently waiting for PAC to determine its budget for the upcoming year.

Posted by acapnews at April 2, 2005 12:24 AM