Are auditions paradoxical in a Quaker setting?

One trademark of the GFS community is its inclusiveness. GFS rarely compares its students subjectively or calls upon them to demonstrate their skill in order to participate in a certain group, but with Choir and A Cappella auditions, joining is determined by ability to sing, and sing well.

Since GFS is an inclusive community, selection based on talent or knowledge is infrequent and makes some people apprehensive.

A Cappella director Allen Drew said, “people gear up to audition and we get a decent turnout each year. It’s exciting for those who get in because there are not many spots available, and it changes each year,” but, he added, “Auditions inherently cut people.”

Many think auditions are necessary to maintain the high quality these groups possess, as Allison O’Connor ‘13, a member of Choir, says, “It [auditioning] does weed out people who aren’t good or aren’t serious. Chorus makes it ok so if you don’t get into Choir you still have an option to sing, and that makes it fair.”

Drew said, “for people who don’t get in it can be hard for them. It’s kind of fun and challenging, hearing lots of voices. The choices are hard. It’s no fun to cut people. I don’t like it in that sense.”

Allison said, “especially at GFS where it’s not common to have to separate in terms of talent, it makes [Choir] seem exclusive, but it’s like the real world. Inclusiveness is prevalent enough at this school that it makes it all right.”

On the other hand, in a community where exclusion is uncommon, some feel it is disruptive to have few people left out. Bonding in groups can foster a sense of community within the individual group, but it can also create an unwelcoming feeling towards others.

Schuyler Tullis ‘16 said, “I think it may strengthen the community within Choir and A Capella from spending so much time together and doing things they love and spending time with people who have something in common, but then it also separates them from the rest of the community with people who still want to be involved in music but are not so talented in singing.”

Allison said, “before I auditioned, it was nerve wracking, but it was not as hard as I thought.” Allison got into Choir as a sophomore.

Some amount of exclusiveness is inevitable, even in the most inclusive of communities.