From my extensive experience with musicians, we are not cult-minded, with few exceptions. I always have to add the “with few exceptions” part because I suppose there are a few musicians out there who do hold to a cult mindset or the childish “My team is better than your team” third grade way of thinking.
Instead, like other professions and businesses, we support each other and listen to each other and compliment each other when praise is due.
When I was in Orchestra Choruses, all the Choruses supported each other and listened to each other. There was one exception to that and that was because of the immature rivalry between the Choral Arts Society of Washington and the University of Maryland Chorus. To be clear, it was not an official rivalry. It was mostly misplaced jealousy that some of the Choral Arts Society choristers had because the University of Maryland Chorus received more performance engagements at that time than did the other Choruses, including the Choral Arts Society. But that’s the only situation that comes to mind as far as a cult mentality is involved. I remember making the mistake of inviting one of the sopranos in the Choral Arts Society to go with me — she was a casual friend of mine — to hear the University of Maryland Chorus perform Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam at the Kennedy Center with Claudio Abbado conducting. Their performance was glorious. The University of Maryland Chorus — as usual — gave a stellar performance. Dr Paul Traver had prepared them superbly, as usual. But my friend — being a cultist of the Choral Arts Society — couldn’t bring herself to say anything positive about The Maryland Chorus. It was very frustrating for me. I felt quite disappointed about that and regretted having invited her. She was unable to be objective as I was. (Although The Washington Post said the same thing I said about the performance the next day). I liked both the Choral Arts Society and The Maryland Chorus as well as the Oratorio Society of Washington. Not being “a team player” in a cult sense, I thought the rivalry was silly. Other than that, I’ve not known of any silly rivalries between musical ensembles. And most musicians I’ve known have been the ultimate of humble and modest. They are the genuine artists in my opinion, as opposed to the arrogant snots who strut around with their nose in the air bragging about how great they think they are.
As for me? I listen/watch and enjoy anybody whose level of choral excellence or orchestral excellence is of the highest level. I can’t really listen to or watch podunk Choruses and if the ensemble is not singing with perfect intonation and can’t master that, off you go! I can’t stand to hear wobbling and fluttering voices. Nothing worse than that…along with bad diction.
But the Choruses I have the privilege of featuring here are of the highest caliber, such as the stellar Choir of Men and Boys of St Thomas Church in Manhattan (Anglican Communion), as one example. Or the Orchestra Chorus at the top of the page from Deutschland. They are superb.
The cults I see today are that of a political nature and that of unusual hobbyists. It seems that most people who are parked at microphone these days have developed a cult following based on their politics. So when I was critical of R. Maddow for her black shroud she wears on every single show — let’s hope she washes it occasionally!, or does she have 12 of them all alike? — I got nothing but hate for that because she ultimately supports the Democrats. But if she supported the Republicans, her cultists would have agreed with me in order to hate on her as a Republican. It’s that immature partisan, “my team is better than your team” rubbish. I can’t stand partisans because they can’t be objective or they refuse to be and can’t tell the objective truth about their own cult. I’ve written about a couple of others, such as Amy Goodman’s Cultists.
There are also the sports-related cults — with the childish, “my team is better than your team” mentality where the person will never support any other team other than the one they support — as well as religious cults, specifically where the church thinks that theirs is the only “one and true path to salvation” and all that nonsense. Blind devotion. From my experience, fundamentalist Christians usually have a cult mentality about their faith and the church they belong to with unconditional and blind support for their clergy.
Then there’s the hobbyist plane spotting cults that I’ve written extensively about. That is one weird bunch of people with their sexism and their “We are family” marketing gimmicks, which they all fall for. Who would have ever guessed that watching planes land and take off at LAX would generate a cult mentality/following amongst the different groups of guys who video record planes at LAX and their childish, immature and syrupy viewers? It’s really a free baby-sitting service for a lot of lonely people. One of the plane spotting cultists told one group of the guys, “I only watch you.” Why limit oneself? How silly. But spoken like a good little cultist. I guess if that person were a musician, she would not support or listen to any other ensembles but the ensemble she’s in. Ludicrous.
There’s also the Alphabet Cult which is part of The Gay Agenda, which is a worldwide cult, not just regional. That’s about absolute conformity with the dictates and decrees of Gay Incorporated as I’ve written about in several articles, such as these: National Public Radio feeds into, “Don’t say gay.” Also, The Gay Agenda and the Alphabet Cult which is a way of sanitising gay these days.