Proverb: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
This old truism is all about teamwork and honoring every member of a group. It certainly rings true in the arena of a cappella. Whether your group has three members or thirty, everyone has a musical role—a vocal part, a functional vocation such as soloist or percussionist. Beyond any given song, individual group members bring different skills to the table; the arranger; the choreographer; the business manager; the webmaster.
Not all participants in an a cappella group are created equally. As much as we like to talk about how everyone’s special in his or her own way, there’s no denying that some people have greater talents or simply work harder. It doesn’t matter that some people bring more to the group than others. What matters is the recognition that every piece of the puzzle or every link in the chain is important. If group members can match pitch, fall in line with the choreography, and learn their parts through and through, then they will raise the minimum standard of what’s acceptable in your group. In so doing, they’ll allow the group’s more audible and more visible stars to truly shine, and so elevate the group on the whole.
Every group member will represent certain strengths and weaknesses. It’s the group members who can recognize those weaknesses as opportunities and find ways to work through, around, or even within them that will strengthen your entire ensemble. It’s the group members who can’t figure it out who will need extra support, or just might turn out to be links you need to sever from your chain.