Diversity is ALIVE and Well in the World of Acapella – #DadChat #Music

Category: Weekly Columns

Unstrumental - Acapella - Group pose

This photo and all in this column are only of the acapella group, Unstrumental

Diversity is one of those words, like multiculturalism, that I truly dislike because they are so often used in politically correct and foolish ways. For me, it’s like saying, “gender” instead of “sex,” when referring to a man or a woman. What was wrong with just saying “sex?” But, like all things PC, the politically correct segment of our society has horribly corrupted words. Rape now means any sex that a woman regrets afterward INSTEAD of the violent crime that it really is.

Unstrumental - Acapella - around piano

Heck, our POTUS can’t even call Radical Islam or Jihadists by their real names, instead referring to them as simply terrorists and such. CNN referred to the Paris Islamists MURDERERS as “activists!” Sad that we can’t be honest due to the PC police and THOSE “activists” that try and be multicultural without telling the truth!

I’ve often said that the United States is clearly the greatest country of diversity in the world. It always has been and probably always will be! Consequently, it was with great pride and pleasure that I saw TRUE diversity and multiculturalism in action when I attended the LAAF2015 – The Los Angeles Acapella Festival – in Santa Monica, CA recently.

My younger son is in an award-winning acapella group at his high school called, “Unstrumental,” and they were last year’s festival winners, so this year they were the featured performers when the judges were judging. After the competition itself and while the judges were doing their thing, Unstrumental performed for 15 minutes and it was terrific. Enjoy this video from their performance:

But, the point of this column is what I observed about the make-up of the seven acapella groups that performed. Six were competing in the festival while my son’s group was just performing. The average number of members of each group was about 15. One group was all boys, while another was all girls. The rest were divided among the sexes.

Moreover, the make-up of the groups in looks, size, ethnicity, and race was truly wonderful to behold. TRUE diversity in action. Tall, thin, heavy, short, and everything between. What mattered was the talent. The solo performers were chosen, I assume, by their talent. Some were the better looking of the bunch while others were not. NO ONE cared. It was the singing that mattered.

I come from a generation that valued looks and being fit/thin a bit too much, I suspect, so I couldn’t help but notice that a number of the boys and girls were, to put it generously, “not in shape.” But, they displayed a confidence that belied any judgment I might make. My wife observed, possibly correctly, that our kids’ generation doesn’t – I don’t know if this is true – put the same value on the superficial that our generation did.

Unstrumental - Acapella - at the lunch table - Aaron in front with LIzzy

Real life is not always so democratic since the most well known actors and performers tend to be good looking while character actors and some exceptions in popular music may not be on the A-list of beauty. But, at this point in the lives of our children, I think it’s great that these judgments don’t flood their activities.

While I noticed a particular boy or girl may have been less good-looking than another, I also noticed how EVERY one of them performed with NO self-consciousness and EVERY bit of enthusiasm and excitement – exactly the way it should be.

Yes, show business can be harsh and there are few Mama Cass’s (dating myself!) that top the charts or are A-list movie stars. But, there are plenty of great “stars” that don’t fit any set mold.

Unstrumental - Acapella - half the group

Plus, most importantly, less judgment at these formative ages will give our kids more confidence in their adult lives. Too many kids suffer from bullying and other self-esteem issues brought on during Middle School and High School years. Middle School seems a particularly dangerous time for kids today.

My older son was bullied so badly his first year in Middle School and the school was so indifferent, that I pulled him from that school and home-schooled him for the next 18-months. And believe me, I’m no pushover when it comes to expressing myself, but the administration was pathetic I chose to simply take matters in my own hands.

Reality is often harsh. So, yes there will be judgments our kids face based on superficial things, but if we can give them freedom from these judgments for a while, isn’t that better?