Washington appoints they/them choral director

Washington appoints they/them choral director

News

norman lebrecht

June 09, 2022

Message received:

After an extensive board-led search in partnership with Arts Consulting Group (ACG), the Choral Arts Board of Directors and the Search Committee are elated to introduce you to our next Artistic Director, Dr. Jace Kaholokula Saplan (they/them). Jace will officially join Choral Arts on September 1, 2022.


Dr. Saplan’s research focuses on the performance practice of Queen Lili’uokalani’s choral compositions; multicultural perspectives in the choral rehearsal; intersections of choral pedagogy, gender, and sexuality in communities of color; and Native Hawaiian agency in music. His scholarship on these topics have also led him to lead clinics at the state, regional, and national level for the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Educators, National Collegiate Choral Organization, and the LGBTQ Studies in Music Education Conference. He is a frequent clinician and adjudicator for state, regional, and national conferences and festivals.

Comments

  • WILLIAM says:

    I look forward to reading more about their work….on another site.

  • Barry says:

    Which is it? They/Them or he? A little consistency would be nice.

  • Roman says:

    It’s funny how they emphasise “they/them” and immediately refers to the person as “he”.

  • Dr Tomato says:

    Why does the output statement use “his” and “he” when the individual has clearly expressed the desire to be referred to as “they/them”?
    It’s almost as if they/them/it doesn’t understand what’s going on….

  • Michael Wilkinson says:

    Interesting that the release does not stick to the they/ them rule in the second paragraph.

  • OX1 says:

    Why should we be forced to refer to him in a particular way? How dare these people tell me what I can and cannot say. Why would you employ someone with such a provocative collection of interests? Is no one fighting back against this madness in America?

    • zeno north says:

      No one’s forcing you to refer to them in a particular way. Make your own choice. But if you don’t respect their choice of pronouns, you have no right to expect that people will respect yours. It’s really pretty simple.

    • Oscarphile says:

      Is that how you respond whenever people introduce themselves?

      “Hi, my name is John.”
      “HOW DARE YOU TELL ME WHAT I CAN AND CAN’T CALL YOU!!!!”

    • Barry says:

      Actually, there are people fighting back and an increasing number of Americans are upset about it. But the push-back started much later than it should have and is still building steam.

  • Imbrod says:

    After specifying they/them pronouns, the announcement uses he/him in the second graf. Whose gaffe?

  • Nina B. says:

    Shouldn’t the message use the pronouns Dr.Saplan expressivly associates with ????
    Why when it’s written in the first paragraph they/them all the bio notes talk about he/him?

  • Larry says:

    I mean no disrespect but if this person wishes to be addressed as they/them, then why are “he” and “him” being used in the second paragraph?

  • japecake says:

    The second paragraph refers to “he” multiple times. Sounds like a delightful time ahead for all involved.

  • Dragonetti says:

    Und so geht es immer weiter ….

  • zeno north says:

    So who was the writer who used “his” and “he” when Saplan’s pronouns are given as they/them? It’s really not that hard to get it right.

  • Buck Hill Boy says:

    Hilarious that they make such a big deal out of the pronouns, and then don’t use them.

  • Alphonse says:

    He sounds like a colossal pain in the you-know-what. Oh, sorry- “they” sound like a colossal pain…whenever I hear someone else use the pronoun “they” to refer to a single person, I’m always tempted to say, “They? Does he have a mouse in his pocket?”

  • Curious To Know says:

    The press release on the Choral Arts website uses they/them pronouns but it seems as though you’ve changed them to he/him on this website – any reason why?

  • MPMcGrath says:

    Yes, but what are this person’s musical, conducting, leadership, and fund-raising qualifications?
    And what music is this person’s strong suit after finishing with the late Queen’s back catalogue? For there will be more than just a couple Choral Society performances per year if I am not mistaking. How are they equipped to conduct the odd straight composer – say preparing the choir for Mahler’s 2nd or Verdi opera?

    • Hugo Preuß says:

      Spot on. 32 comments so far, and this is the only one even mentioning music. For a music blog that is a lot of interest in the consistent use of pronouns, and very little interest in music.

      • M2N2K says:

        That is probably because the quoted information makes the pronoun issue totally confusing, while the person’s musical qualifications on the other hand are pretty clearly defined.

    • guest says:

      You would hardly expect SD to waste space on Dr Saplan’s broader musical qualifications, expertise and experience when the much more interesting matter of personal pronouns can be foregrounded. For the curious, there is always google.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    They/them and then it becomes He /Him, someone is confused. Particularly when the object of the discussion refers to himself/herself as I as some of these people do. Can’t keep up.

  • Gus says:

    What’s the source of the biography?

    Saplan’s website consistently uses they/them so this one could be out of date or changed by someone else.

  • Terence says:

    Happy to refer to this person as Dr. Saplan.

    But s/he is only one person singular, not two plus people plural.

    Use whatever pronoun you like Jace but let others make their (plural) own choices.

  • Drew Barnard says:

    Well, best luck with the work on decolonizing music, whatever that means. Such a shame that music operates across cultures and has blended the innovations of cultures around the world. We must have pure, isolated music at all costs! Never, ever can the music of another culture be allowed to influence our music.

    Political activists should work as activists, not musicians. I listened to a little bit of Jace’s podcast, and I almost threw up with all the deconstructionist cliches thrown around with such smugness. People that actually care about music shouldn’t put up with this.

  • Pat Posey says:

    Norman, the bio for Dr. Saplan on the Choral Arts website includes their proper pronouns. Did the release you were sent include the bio quoted above? I don’t want to believe that the misgendering above is intentional but the tone of this site on all other occasions leaves me to wonder.

  • Parker says:

    And the “Who Cares Award” goes to…

  • msc says:

    If he wishes to be called “them,” the supplied bio goofs: “His scholarship … led him … He is…”

  • Mark says:

    the pronouns are all over the place on this one

  • M2N2K says:

    Since the good Dr. is initially designated in the very first sentence as being “they/them”, it makes it completely unclear who is the person referred to as “he/his/him” in the rest of the official announcement as it is quoted here.

  • V.Lind says:

    Not sure what they (the writers of this screed) are playing at. The release introduces the appointee as they/them, and thereafter refers to him as “he.” When I saw the picture on the cover screen I thought it was a woman. Perhaps that’s the point, whatever the point is.

    I think the study of Queen Lili’uokalani’s compositions is of legitimate interest. But what the hell is “multicultural perspectives in the choral rehearsal” about? Placement of minorities in certain rows? Choice of soloists? Tardiness and absence records by racial group? Level of preparedness? Who takes their smoke and coffee breaks with whom? In what if any circumstances could this be of academic interest?

    But in fact, upon further research, he is not receiving a new academic or musical appointment. (And his credentials seem pretty sound for his current position in Hawaii). “Washington” implies either the government or one of the city’s musical institutions. In point of fact: “The prestigious Obama Foundation Leaders Asia-Pacific program has chosen a University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa assistant professor of music and a UH West Oʻahu alumna as part of its 2022 cohort.”

    Anyone interested in reading what this appointment is really about can check it out:

    https://www.hawaii.edu/news/2022/04/25/obama-foundation-leaders-2022-class/

    A VERY misleading post.

    • guest says:

      Dr Saplan was also appointed this year to be Artistic Director of the Choral Society of Washington. https://choralarts.org/jace-saplan/
      The second paragraph, using he/him, may have been taken over by SD from an older bio, for instance when Dr Saplan was an Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities in the University of Hawai’i, but that isn’t made clear.

  • Jules says:

    Why is someone’s gender identification so very important to you? What bearing does it have on the talent and capabilities of someone? Enough.

  • just saying says:

    If his pronouns are they/them, why does the bio continually refer to them as “he”?

  • IP says:

    WRONG!! It should read:

    “Dr. Saplan’s research focuses on the performance practice of Queen Lili’uokalani’s choral compositions; multicultural perspectives in the choral rehearsal; intersections of choral pedagogy, gender, and sexuality in communities of color; and Native Hawaiian agency in music. Their scholarship on these topics have also led them to lead clinics at the state, regional, and national level for the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Educators, National Collegiate Choral Organization, and the LGBTQ Studies in Music Education Conference. They are a frequent clinician and adjudicator for state, regional, and national conferences and festivals.”

    And let us hope that they attract an audience at least as numerous as their personalities.

  • Ellingtonia says:

    Can someone translate the above bullshit into English for us non woke people?

  • Cynical Bystander says:

    Message received but understood?

    Pronouns in the first paragraph (they/them) but (His/Him/He) in the second!

    Just how would me/we address ?? when wanting to talk about ‘intersections of choral pedagogy’ and all the rest of the claptrap that seems to make they/them perfect for this non job? Still someone(thing) is ‘elated’.

  • Elaine says:

    This is so twisted that you can’t even read it with straight face.
    And to prove the point you could even sustain the pronoun charade until the end of the piece. You slipped in ‘he’ twice.

  • Mystic Chord says:

    It’s funny but I had a strange premonition that SD readers would start foaming at the mouth over this one …

  • Plush says:

    Here, they and them are completely disgusted.

  • Norabide Guziak says:

    Roll up, roll up to the greatest show in town!

  • Clarinerd says:

    Dr. Saplan’s research focuses on the performance practice of Queen Lili’uokalani’s choral compositions; multicultural perspectives in the choral rehearsal; intersections of choral pedagogy, gender, and sexuality in communities of color; and Native Hawaiian agency in music. Their scholarship on these topics have also led them to lead clinics at the state, regional, and national level for the American Choral Directors Association, National Association for Music Educators, National Collegiate Choral Organization, and the LGBTQ Studies in Music Education Conference. They are a frequent clinician and adjudicator for state, regional, and national conferences and festivals.

    I fixed it.

  • Bostin'Symph says:

    A few years ago I completed a BA in English Literature with the Open University. In one assessed essay for the Shakespeare module I used ‘they’ to avoid being gender-specific with ‘he’ or ‘she’. I was docked a mark for using a plural pronoun where a singular one was required. :-0

  • pvl says:

    Are “they/them” an artist or clinician or in business or what?

  • MacroV says:

    Choral Arts is a pretty serious organization, and I will assume that serious musicianship is behind the selection. I trust that is the message being sent here.

    Norman, if you’re going to emulate Fleet Street for clicks, then at least give us the Page 3 girl.

  • Player says:

    I think *someone* editing the page is making a quiet protest against this rubbish…

  • Zachary Binx says:

    If you commenters have a problem with trans people then maybe you should join an extremist group of fellow moron haters and go picket funerals.

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