What was the "Singing Nun's" real name?
a) Marie Michaels
b) Suzanne Despass
c) Jeanine Deckers
d) Gabriella Signoret
A question from the RMAT 1997 - more at end of post
The Rhino Musical Aptitude Test (RMAT) was created by David Dorn, a veteran Rhino Music employee, as a parody of the SAT as well as lightening up the seriousness of hardcore music collectors and the flailing record industry as a whole. In Rhino's press release, the RMAT is referred to as "the SAT of music trivia contests" and "the music-trivia-test-to-beat-all-music-trivia-tests." Dorn and select Rhino employees along with "a contingent of recognized, hand-picked experts representing each specific genre of music except classical" spent several weeks compiling 318 questions for the inaugural hour-long open-book exam, to be given multiple choice SAT-style and scheduled for April 27, 1997. (If the date sounds familiar, it is because Casey Kasem celebrated his sixty-fifth birthday that day while I turned 31.)
|Birthday Boy Kasem's publicity still from 1997|
Registration for the test lasted just one week, from April 10th through April 17th. The test was administered both online and at a Tower Records location in both Los Angeles and New York. Longtime Rhino favorite Dr. Demento proctored the exam at Tower Records on Sunset Blvd. The press release further describes the live testing:
On test day, each live location will be fully decorated to take on the appearance of a classroom setting complete with school desks, a teacher's desk, a chalk board, and a globe for authenticity. All contestants will be handed a test packet complete with an answer sheet, two #2 pencils, a pocket protector, stickers, and a raffle ticket, for prizes to be given away when the test is over. The RMAT will be brought to each location under the tight lock-and-key security of a Pinkerton armored truck to insure secrecy.
The stated purpose of the RMAT was "to find that one music geek whose head is filled with the most useless information, and crown that person the "Ultimate Music Geek." Also at stake was a pretty sweet prize package:
A winner will be chosen from both live locations (New York and Los Angeles), as well as one from the Internet. The person scoring the highest of the three winners will be awarded the "Rock 'n' Roll Musical History Tour," an all expense paid, six-city trip for two to music hot spots in London, New York, Memphis, Cleveland (The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, of course), New Orleans, and Los Angeles. The other two winners will each receive one custom Rock-Ola CD jukebox stocked with 100 CDs of the winners' choice from the immense Rhino catalog.
|Rhino Catalog #28 from 1996|
April 27th came and went and nearly three weeks later, on May 16th, the scores were posted for the 1250 people (of an estimated 5000 test takers) who passed the qualifier - the scoring went like this:
The test was scored like the SATs where a correct answer garnered one point, an incorrect answer penalized 1/3 of a point, and questions left blank neither positively or negatively affected the score. All contestants who passed the qualifier section (the first 25 questions of the test where it was necessary to answer at least 20 questions right) were awarded 13 points simply for correctly writing their name.
Rhino put out a follow-up press release on May 20th and though they hadn't announced it ahead of the RMAT (or maybe they thought of it afterwards) but there was a prize given for the lowest score out of 350 possible points. Annie Star McAuley scored a 29.4 and was awarded with "a complete 1997 Joel Whitburn library of music reference books." The third runner-up was the highest score at Tower Records Los Angeles with a 175.7, Jess R. Hernandez and the runner-up and highest score at Tower Records New York, David H. Goldman with a score of 200.1.
|undated picture of Dave Pasternak from his wife's website|
But the man who scored the highest, took the test on the Internet as "a lark", not really expecting to win. His years as a record store clerk and music collector paid off handsomely for Mr. Dave Pasternak, a 39 year old systems analyst and computer programmer from Virginia, who declined the Musical History Tour Grand Prize saying that he would have spent most of the time on airplanes the way the trip had been planned. Dave negotiated an alternate prize just like the runners-up (runner-ups?): a Rock-Ola custom CD jukebox with 200 discs of his choice from the Rhino catalog to set him apart as the "Geekus Musicus Maximus." Amazingly, it was the second jukebox in the house he shared with his wife - they already owned a vintage one stocked with their favorite 45s. Though he volunteered to help write questions for the next test, Dave and his wife Bobbi were flown out to Los Angeles in May 1998 by Rhino to defend his title in The Second Annual Rhino Musical Aptitude Test. I along with a close friend of mine who also missed the first RMAT would also be taking that test on the Internet. The story of The Second Annual Rhino Musical Aptitude Test will follow shortly.
|advertisement for The Second Annual RMAT from Spin Magazine, May 1998 issue|
More questions from the first RMAT:
According to Spın̈al Tap, how many people have been in the band?
Where were the covers of both the Rolling Stones' High Tide and Green Grass and Simon and Garfunkel's Sounds of
a) Brighton, England
b) Woodstock, New York
c) Franklin Canyon, Los Angeles
d) Long Island, New York
According to Gordon Lightfoot, how many men were aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald?
references not already linked in post above: