Last Saturday, the 5th of November, the Office of Campus Life (OCL) released a statement clarifying its stance toward a cappella practices. “It’s not that singing is necessarily against the rules,” said Doug Schiazza, Senior Associate Dean of Campus Life. “It’s more just that -- well -- we can’t stand the sound of it.”
The COVID restrictions put in place by the school provided an easy outlet for the college to finally cancel a capella. “We’re aware of the burden these rules will place on the student body,” said Maud Mandel. “And especially the acapella groups,” she added, trying not to giggle. “It’s just, so tough, that people can’t gather together and use their mouths to spew particles into the air. So sad that that’s dangerous now and we have a totally legitimate reason to ban it.”
“It’s a total bummer,” echoed Dean Sewell. “I mean, who doesn’t like a capella?” When all in the room raised their hands, Sewell had to clarify that he had meant the question rhetorically.
Still, to the administration’s surprise, a cappella groups found a way to practice at the start of the semester. Meeting in small, socially distant groups, those passionate about a cappella have found a way to sing covers of songs without instruments, even though those instruments already exist and are free to use at literally any time.
While Schiazza lives in North Adams, far from campus, he claims that the sound of a capella still affects his home life. “I had that one song stuck in my head for hours. You know, like, ‘Do you got plans tonight, I’m a couple miles from Japan’ or something. My gosh. Insufferable.” One of the points outlined in OCL’s decision to ban a capella was the lack of music performed which appealed to the administration. “Maybe if they sang some of these good songs that younger people like, like Carrie Underwood, then we could talk,” said Schiazza. “Or, I don’t know, Dave Matthews Band. Yeah, do you listen to them? They’re good. Let me show you.” Unfortunately, Haystack reporters were forced to terminate the interview after Schiazza pulled up Apple Music and refused to comment further on a capella restrictions.
Theo Hunt ‘21, told Haystack reporters about a concerning experience he had with members of an a capella group recently. “I was in line at Whitman’s, you know, just getting food, right?” said Hunt. “And what do you know, next thing I see is these a cappella kids. They roll in, pants cuffed, vertical stripes on their shirts and everything. And I go, uh oh, we’re gonna have a problem here, aren’t we. I’m just hoping they don’t got anyone here to beatbox. You know how that goes. So anyway, next thing you know they’re doo-bopping and bee-dowing everywhere and one of them leans forward and starts snapping, the whole deal. Some gruesome stuff.”
A recent study conducted by the College attempted to figure out why a school of 2,000 people has eight acapella groups. It revealed that 40% of people on campus are in acapella. A different unrelated study also conducted by the College confirmed that 60% of students are cool and normal and have a lot of sex. The study included questions such as:
“What do you do for fun?”
Something cool that people like
“What do you use your mouth for on a regular basis”
Beatboxing for an acapella group because I am a bad person
The administration has found themselves dismayed with acapella groups’ persistence, given that they thought the global pandemic would be some kind of reality check. “I just wish those guys would do cool music like Zambezi does,” said Mandel. “Those guys know how to fucking rock.”