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October 10, 2005

Reality drifts away with the a cappella

And here is another perspective on the phenomenon..

The Stanford Daily (CA):

By Navin Sivanandam
Opinions Columnist

To call Stanford a bubble would be unfair to surface tension ó the disconnect from reality on the Farm is an impressive thing. Far away, and viewed through well-frosted glass, the rest of humanity appears to struggle through a very different game than the one weíre playing. Of course, most of the time, you happily get on with your life on campus without realizing just how far removed you are. Most of the time.

Occasionally, however, there are moments of clarity when the absurdity of the Wonderland surrounding you is depressingly apparent. For example, now. Like a scab thatís been picked too early, the opening of the Universityís doors at the start of the season exposes its bilious innards. And all kinds of unsavoury things start oozing out. Now, most you have been well indoctrinated in the Stanford mindset, so you may not recognize said ooze; luckily, Iím here to help.

Enthusiasm is a terrible thing in the wrong hands. Itís blinding, and it rips through everything in its path, tearing away nuance and subtlety.

Thereís a lot of singing at Stanford. In fact, thereís a quite frightening amount. Aliens wandering around White Plaza last week would have probably assumed that the University was home to a many-factioned tribal war. Complete with chanting. In fact, it seems that every fringe group around here prefers to do it in harmony. Well, itís either that or people really do prefer singing to having fun.

Now, Iím not completely immune to the charms of the voice, but Iím still puzzled by just how much a cappella can exist in one place. What draws you all to singing? Shouldnít you be taking drugs or something? I mean, itís not like weíre talking a rock band here; there are no million-dollar record deals or fawning groupies in this gig.

Perhaps Iíve missed out on some dramatic social phenomenon. Maybe, when I wasnít looking, group singing suddenly became the thing to do. Hey, I know Iím no longer au fait with all the trends coursing through college life; conceivably a good chant could be what all the kids are after these days. Then again, the 912 different singing posses do seem a little excessive. Are these groups any different? Do they just pick, like, a different octave each? Or is it something else that ensures that Stanfordís musical menagerie lives on?

In the end, though, whatever lies beneath the continuing popularity, at least we can be grateful that the often oppressed harmonious-but-socially-awkward-in-high-school minority has a voice (or 10) here on the Farm.

Posted by acapnews at October 10, 2005 9:02 PM