Life is full of lessons to be learned. When we’re thinking about how to best lead, promote, sing, or otherwise operate within the context of an a cappella group, it’s worth looking beyond the realm of a cappella itself to what other walks of life can teach us.
There’s a defining moment in the second episode of Joss Whedon’s short-lived television series, Firefly. Nathan Fillion stands at the edge of town, talking to a community leader. Fillion’s character—the captain of a small spaceship that makes ends meet through odd jobs that more often than not involve smuggling or illegal trade—has just returned a shipment of crates that he stole on behalf of a third party. He returned them because he learned that they were medicine that was vitally needed by the community from which he stole.
The community leader approves of the decision and tells Fillion that when a man recognizes what he has stolen he then has the opportunity to make a conscious choice about what to do.
Fillion shakes his head and intimates that in matters of pure right and grave wrong, no, a man does not have a choice.
In this culminating moment of the episode, says a great deal about the overall culture and identity of the show. Yes, it’s a sci-fi show about space travelers. And yes, it’s an old-fashioned morality play where good men make responsible decisions, even when the decisions are made at their own detriment.