Event Title

Choral Crossovers: Singing the "Other" on the Canadian Prairie and the Outskirts of the Kalahari

Start Date

30-5-2011 10:30 AM

End Date

30-5-2011 12:30 PM

Description

Choral musicians and music educators throughout the world have been singing a more globalized repertoire with increasing frequency in the past 10 years. While western musicians grapple with teaching and learning these “new” musics and broadening their perspectives on music and music making little, however, is known about musicians in non-Western traditions teaching, learning and playing western music -- a practice which has been going on for a far longer period of time. Singing expresses and embodies Black South African culture (Louhivuori, Salminen, & Lebaka, 2005) and its choristers devote a significant portion of their lives to singing and participation in choral festivals and competitions (Stevens, 2007) where western choral repertoire gets top billing. Choral singing in Canada, which Thomas Turino (2008) deems of a presentational nature where music is distanced from everyday life and its performers from their audience, increasing embraces aural traditions from around the globe, and South Africa in particular, where the enthusiastic participation of the audience is an integral part of the music experience. How does the South African chorister immersed in her highly participatory tradition since birth cross musical boundaries to sing western music before judges and audiences? Conversely, how does the Canadian chorister schooled in western music cross musical boundaries to sing South African traditional music learned aurally and shared with full body engagement? Of what benefit is this boundary crossing to choristers on both continents? This paper examines how Black South African and Canadian choristers, in their own words, negotiate the disjuncture between singing music of their traditions and that of unfamiliar others. Data were gathered via personal interviews with 16 choristers from a Galeshewe SATB choir that participates in adult choral competitions and 16 choristers from an Edmonton SATB choir known for their singing of repertoire from Southern Africa. How and why western choral repertoire is learned in South Africa and Southern African music is learned in Canada as well as the role and function of this “unfamiliar” music in these choristers’ lives will be presented followed by implications for music educators.

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May 30th, 10:30 AM May 30th, 12:30 PM

Choral Crossovers: Singing the "Other" on the Canadian Prairie and the Outskirts of the Kalahari

Choral musicians and music educators throughout the world have been singing a more globalized repertoire with increasing frequency in the past 10 years. While western musicians grapple with teaching and learning these “new” musics and broadening their perspectives on music and music making little, however, is known about musicians in non-Western traditions teaching, learning and playing western music -- a practice which has been going on for a far longer period of time. Singing expresses and embodies Black South African culture (Louhivuori, Salminen, & Lebaka, 2005) and its choristers devote a significant portion of their lives to singing and participation in choral festivals and competitions (Stevens, 2007) where western choral repertoire gets top billing. Choral singing in Canada, which Thomas Turino (2008) deems of a presentational nature where music is distanced from everyday life and its performers from their audience, increasing embraces aural traditions from around the globe, and South Africa in particular, where the enthusiastic participation of the audience is an integral part of the music experience. How does the South African chorister immersed in her highly participatory tradition since birth cross musical boundaries to sing western music before judges and audiences? Conversely, how does the Canadian chorister schooled in western music cross musical boundaries to sing South African traditional music learned aurally and shared with full body engagement? Of what benefit is this boundary crossing to choristers on both continents? This paper examines how Black South African and Canadian choristers, in their own words, negotiate the disjuncture between singing music of their traditions and that of unfamiliar others. Data were gathered via personal interviews with 16 choristers from a Galeshewe SATB choir that participates in adult choral competitions and 16 choristers from an Edmonton SATB choir known for their singing of repertoire from Southern Africa. How and why western choral repertoire is learned in South Africa and Southern African music is learned in Canada as well as the role and function of this “unfamiliar” music in these choristers’ lives will be presented followed by implications for music educators.