Start Date

30-5-2011 3:00 PM

End Date

30-5-2011 3:30 PM

Description

Community choirs enact notions of community often based on the assumption that community singing bridges and celebrates cultural diversity through shared musical experiences. What makes Common Thread Community Chorus of Toronto unique among community choirs in Toronto is an explicitly political focus to its musical community-building efforts. This paper explores how the construction of community within Common Thread is predicated on the notion of cultural inclusion through musical, social, and political dimensions. Drawing from research conducted with the choir in 2010 that explored the social and musical experiences of choir members, I argue that the relationships between choral members’ socio-musical experiences and the choir’s construction of community are predicated on particular notions of multiculturalism and inclusion based on a partially visible White normative centre. I will first interrogate how community is constructed within the choir through a complex system of multicultural/multilingual repertoires, musical practices, and sociocultural accessibility measures. The second part of the presentation will focus on Common Thread’s construction of community situated within larger local and global activities and discourses of social justice. Drawing from political theory and adult education theory, I explore Common Thread’s construction of community through the problematic field of identity-differences. The concept of identity-differences locates individual and communal constructions of self in relation to others as complex composites of intersecting power relations. Identity-differences are collective and relational, which often (although not inevitably) insinuate the construction of otherness into its logic. This research raises significant questions for consideration in the development of choral rehearsal and performance practices and structures that seek to diversify membership through bridging differences within and beyond singing communities.


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May 30th, 3:00 PM May 30th, 3:30 PM

“Changing the World One Song at a Time”: Interrogating Constructions of Community in Common Thread Community Chorus of Toronto

Community choirs enact notions of community often based on the assumption that community singing bridges and celebrates cultural diversity through shared musical experiences. What makes Common Thread Community Chorus of Toronto unique among community choirs in Toronto is an explicitly political focus to its musical community-building efforts. This paper explores how the construction of community within Common Thread is predicated on the notion of cultural inclusion through musical, social, and political dimensions. Drawing from research conducted with the choir in 2010 that explored the social and musical experiences of choir members, I argue that the relationships between choral members’ socio-musical experiences and the choir’s construction of community are predicated on particular notions of multiculturalism and inclusion based on a partially visible White normative centre. I will first interrogate how community is constructed within the choir through a complex system of multicultural/multilingual repertoires, musical practices, and sociocultural accessibility measures. The second part of the presentation will focus on Common Thread’s construction of community situated within larger local and global activities and discourses of social justice. Drawing from political theory and adult education theory, I explore Common Thread’s construction of community through the problematic field of identity-differences. The concept of identity-differences locates individual and communal constructions of self in relation to others as complex composites of intersecting power relations. Identity-differences are collective and relational, which often (although not inevitably) insinuate the construction of otherness into its logic. This research raises significant questions for consideration in the development of choral rehearsal and performance practices and structures that seek to diversify membership through bridging differences within and beyond singing communities.