Tuesday, September 27, 2011

They Make A Capella Sexy

I auditioned for an a capella group at my school. Their supposed claim to fame is that they make a capella sexy. Therein lies the problem as far as my association with this group. At this stage of my development, I appear sexy only to a pedophile.

I went to call-back, which is stage two of auditions. The group is university-sponsored, but is student-directed, -selected, and -governed. Those in charge of auditions were somewhat blunt in asking me about my age and physical development. They even asked if I had a syndrome, such as Turner Syndrome, that prevented sexual maturation. This is as I would have chosen for it to be. I'd rather disclose everything and be accepted or rejected based on the truth than have them ask me nothing and either reject me based on their partially false assumptions or accept me into their group, then find that it won't work.

Their first question was a logical one. I was asked my age. They were surprised to learn that I'm sixteen. I would not be the first sixteen-year-old to join the group, although the previous sixteen-year-old was approximately six inches taller and thirty pounds heavier than I. I also would not be the shortest person to have been in the group, and probably not even the shortest person in the present group were I to be extended and accept the invitation to join. It's a safe bet, though, that whoever is the shortest or youngest person in the group is leaps and bounds ahead of me in physical development.

I don't wish to give the wrong impression about the people in charge of this group. They're not being snobbish or exclusionary. Their concerns are very legitimate. This group is not merely a choir; it's a performing arts ensemble with choreography in addition to singing. The total visual effect matters. The question is this: can I be dressed and made up in a way that my appearance is not a distraction?

It all reminds me of the times I was forced to watch Lawrence Welk reruns at my grandparents' home. (If anyone else was ever forced by elderly relatives to watch Lawrence Welk reruns, I'm sure I have your sympathy just as you have mine.) In episodes of the great volume of Lawrence Welk chronology produced in the mid-to-late seventies, a group of sisters by the name of Semonski graced the screen. I don't think I can be sued for stating my opinion here, so I will, while attempting not to be unnecessarily unkind. Based on my limited viewing of the Lawrence Welk Show and on my parents' opinions, both of whom had the program force-fed to them far more than I did, the show lost a major source of talent when the Lennon Sisters left the program. Lawrence Welk attempted to recreate the Lennons' overall effect with different related and unrelated female groups of two or larger.

Whether or not the music produced by the Lennon Sisters was a person's first choice of musical genres (my father is more of the Queen, Journey, or Foreigner ilk, for example), most would admit that the Lennon Sisters had nice voices as individuals and had an uncanny sibling blend of harmony.
With the Osmonds, the Jacksons, and the Carpenters being a little out of Lawrence Welk's price range, not any other set of related, unrelated or combo related/unrelated singers the late Mr. Welk tossed onto the stage and told to sing was likely to come up with anything even resembling the sound the Lennon Sisters regularly produced.

Anyway, the Semonski Sisters were one of the later quasi-Lennon Sister imitations the late Mr. Welk foisted upon the public. From what I gathered, they were a group of six sisters of modest-at-best talent born to a working-class family in a span of eleven or so years. The oldest five appeared evenly matched in terms of age, though there were probably seven years separating the oldest and youngest of the five. Where the Semonski Sisters jumped the proverbial shark, however, was with the addition of Semonski Sister #6, Michelle. Michelle was more than four years younger than Sister #5, and was maximally-accessorized, sometimes with bows even larger than her oversized head, to appear even younger. It seemed that the Welk costumers were going for the "cute" effect. The cameramen were in on the conspiracy as well, zeroing in for close-ups of the almost demonic-appearing child incessantly mugging for the cameras. If this group had possessed any particular talent in the first place, the total diversion of attention from the rest of the group to young Michelle would have been practically a felony. As it was, the group was so mediocre that the Michelleization hid what little talent the sisters lacked, so perhaps it wasn't such a bad idea in the first place. The bottom line was that the old ladies of North America, who made up roughly 99.9 per cent of Welk's viewing audience by that time, were so taken with Michelle that if the late Mr. Welk had tried to replace her with anyone having actual talent, the female segment of the AARP would've marched en masse to the Rainbow Ballroom and waged some form of civil disobedience, or possibly even boycotted Geritol, Sominex, and Serutan, Welk's major sponsors.

By now anyone still reading is surely wondering what the hell Michelle Semonski and her sisters of utterly limited vocal talent could possibly have to do with my presence in or absence from the a capella group that makes a capella sexy. It's really quite simple: I do not wish to be the Michelle Semonski of the otherwise sexy a capella group. I've demonstrated that I can blend in with the mix quite well vocally, but if I cannot do so to some degree visually as well, I would prefer not to join the group at this time. I don't wish to be the "Toddlers and Tiaras" candidate who accidentally wandered onto the Miss Universe stage while the pageant was in progress.

The solution we've reached is this: the group is having a second call-back with just the group, including the two already selected new inductees, and me. The session will be video-recorded and photographed. A make-up artist will be present to try different looks for me. I've been told to bring three mature but not sexy outfits. Afterwards, the decision-makers in the group will view films and still photographs and will make the final choice.
I don't have to look as old as the others. I just cannot provide a Michelle-Semonski-calibre distraction.


  1. I hope you can find a middle ground that makes everyone comfortable and allows you to enjoy this experience! I'm glad you're starting things off in a mutually honest place as well. It's always better if you know where you stand.

  2. Good luck with getting what is best for you, Alexis.

  3. Good Luck!! I'm glad they still sound interested in you :) Have fun, no matter what happens