Communities of Song: Collective Musical Participation and Group Singing Experiences In Victoria, BC

  • Sharonne K. Specker
Keywords: community, sociality, singing, choirs, participation


This research investigates the social processes and effects of participation in two community-oriented choirs in Victoria, BC, and seeks to identify the way in which social cohesion is experienced during group singing practices. Interviews with ten choristers and two conductors reveal the feelings of community that can arise among participants and provide data for exploring how this phenomenon occurs. Results indicate that social bonding in the choral setting manifests itself in various ways. The key factors of a common goal, shared values, a safe environment, community interaction, and social infrastructure facilitate feelings of collective participation, lead to increased levels of trust, equality, connection, and mutual caring. Participant exceptions also emerge, evidence of the group’s heterogeneous approach to sociality. Analysis of both the processes and outcomes indicates that this example of social interconnection is consistent with Victor Turner’s anthropological definition of communitas, or intense communal bonding.


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