Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)


School of Music


William M. Dabback

Jo-Anne van der Vat-Chromy

David Stringham


In the music and education fields, researchers have explored the ways people experience community in classroom and ensemble settings; however, few studies have focused on the ways adolescents experience community in the children’s choir setting. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore singers’ perspectives of their experience of community in the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir. Fifteen singers participated in focus group interviews to generate primary data; rehearsal observations and document analysis served as secondary data sources. Analysis revealed that participants’ goals and motivations aligned with the stated goals of the organization, and that these shared goals gave purpose to the community. Giddens’s (1986) structuration theory and Turner’s (1969) communitas served as theoretical frameworks in interpreting the results. Participants shared the goals of the organization and drew on the resources of the choir to accomplish their goals. In turn, their engagement reinforced the organization, and evidence suggested that some transformation occurred as the directors sought and valued choristers’ individual and group contributions. The structure of the choir enabled communitas to blossom in the liminal and transcendent or sacred moments. Directors facilitated some of these experiences, and participants identified the spirit of community existing in caring interactions, particularly during downtime and special experiences.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.