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

12-18-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Department

School of Music

Advisor(s)

Dr. William Dabback

Abstract

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.

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