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September 30, 2011

Boys Don't Sing Soprano?

KELO TV (SD):

It's every student's dream to earn All-State honors. From the hardwood to the stage, those opportunities abound across KELOLAND. But one Yankton student was turned away because his talent breaks the rules for a state-sanctioned event.

14 year-old Garrett Adam is good at many things. Music is one of them. “I play the flute and piccolo in the band,” Garrett said. “And I've been interested in singing a long time now, really interested in singing.”

He's been in junior honor choir, band, marching band and more. And as a freshman this year at Yankton High School Garret had his sights set on an even bigger challenge: all-state chorus. He signed up under the part he sings every day in choir: Soprano.

Two days after his audition, Garrett's teachers pulled him aside and said he might not make all-state because according the state, guys don't sing soprano. “I was mad because when you say that you're good enough and you're not accepted, that's just not right,” Garrett said.

“Discrimination is bad enough anyway in adults,” Rochelle said. “But when you do this to high school kids, high school is hard enough the way it is.”

Rochelle took those concerns all the way to the South Dakota High School Activities Association in Pierre. According to the organization's constitution each school must send quartets, a soprano, alto, tenor and bass. In their eyes, that's two boys and two girls. In fact, the organization's constitution says "no entry is to be less than a mixed quartet made up of two girl singers and two boy singers."

“If somebody can explain to me how this isn't discrimination, okay, I'd be alright with that,” Rochelle said. “But anybody I've talked to can seem to do that.” Read more.

I don't understand this as the term boy soprano has been around for ever. See here the Wikipedia definition. Paul Phoenix (pictured) was a famous boy soprano and is now a member of the King's Singers. Is this a tradition or are some people simply uptight about making sure each gender sticks to its predetermined place. This rule baffles me.

Posted by acapnews at September 30, 2011 9:31 PM

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