Festival 500 Sharing the Voices Introduction

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Let the boys sing and speak: Masculinities and boys’ stories of singing in school

Adam Adler

Peel District School Board, Canada

The decline in boys singing between elementary and secondary school is evidence of gendering psycho-social phenomena which influence boys’ activity choices. Following a period of observation and reflective journaling, the teacher-researcher interviewed eighteen grade seven and eight students. The teacher’s journal also served as data for analysis. Data was examined through multiple critical lenses and was analyzed through the process of creative writing. An emerging typology of identity groups was characterized by a social hierarchy of masculinities. Boys’ identities colour the meanings they attach to their educational and musical experiences and influence their decision-making around singing and other activities in and out of school. Homophobic harassment appears as a social control mechanism frequently used by non-singing boys to prevent their peers’ participation in singing. Implications for equitable educational experiences for boys are discussed. This phenomenon is described through a succession of narratives and narrative fictions.
The singer as a phenomenon of synthesis: The studio teacher as model and mentor

Diana Allan

The University of Texas, United States
Nancy Thompson Jones

Central Methodist College, United States

Singing and the teaching of singing is a phenomenon of synthesis. To convert a piece of music into vocal sound is, in itself, phenomenal. From the beginning of the learning process, the singer must look at small black hieroglyphs, convert them to the ear, and then to vocal reproduction of pitch in rhythm. Layered upon this learning process, the singer must master the ability to sing in a variety of languages and styles, performing by memory in an engaging manner.

The synthesis of these elements is complex. The singer is not alone in this endeavor. Singers may have access to several individuals with expertise or one teacher may be expected to teach all of these elements. A single teacher is, at once, the student's model as performer, language, style, and repertoire coach as well as repetiteur, voice builder, and mentor. This is the type of teacher we discuss in this paper.

To exemplify, we will introduce commonalities of studios whose students have major careers and whose influence shapes the lives of students. This paper will explore the pedagogical approaches and techniques necessary to guide the student into synthesis. We will examine the demonstrable aspects of teaching and also the intangible, unmeasurable aspects of vocal pedagogy which have profound effects on the student and the student's life choices.

Hole in One: The challenges of creating and performing an interactive multimedia work for vocal performer

Kristi Allik, Robert Mulder, and Karen B. Frederickson

Queen’s University, Canada
This lecture demonstration deals with the issues of creating and performing an interactive multimedia work, Hole in One, featuring a vocal performer. The presentation will focus on performance issues and the challenges of integrating a live vocalist with an interactive computer driven system. The presentation will also briefly address the issue of designing an interface best suited for this type of interactive performance.

In the past, vocalists have often shied away from singing with electroacoustic music and visual accompaniment. This was largely due to the fact that both the electroacoustic and visual components were pre-recorded and therefore fixed in time, forcing the vocalist to adjust her singing to the inflexibility of the pre-established music and visual media. We are proposing that, with our current system, the music and visuals follow the vocalist, therefore providing a far more flexible creative and performance context which allows the freedom of spontaneous musical interpretation and, if necessary, improvisation.

Hole in One is a multimedia theatre work for soprano/actor, golf club, golf balls and live interactive electroacoustic music and visual system. This work may also be considered a "mini-opera" of about 15-20 minutes long in which the ‘drama’ is presented through song, speech, electroacoustic music and computer generated visuals performed in real time. This is a work-in-progress and not a completed composition.

For thee we sing: The historical implications of Marian Anderson’s 1939 Easter concert

Sonya G. Baker

Murray State University, United States

This lecture-recital is an opportunity to celebrate one of my idols. While many will have heard of Marian Anderson, most only know her as an African American classical singer. Some will connect her name to Eleanor Roosevelt and the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Still fewer will know some of the details of the incident in 1939 which brought these names together. Only a very few have ever considered Marian Anderson’s 1939 Easter concert as one of the rare moments in which classical singing greatly impacted American society as a whole. What other classical singers have caused millions around the world to re-evaluate American patriotism and sense of humanity? This lecture-recital will fill in some of the gaps in the story of Marian Anderson and the 75,000 people who gathered on the Mall in Washington, D.C., to hear this famous contralto.

The story is infinitely dramatic, involving issues of racism, patriotism, and the role of the arts in our society. This was an historical moment which provided an opportunity for the participants to look at themselves and the overall impact of the arts at that time. Throughout the lecture-recital, delegates will view visual images from the Marian Anderson web site. They will hear Anderson’s own voice in its glory singing an exciting rendition of the aria, O Mio Fernando. Finally, delegates will engage in the live performance of other works from Anderson’s concert including several spirituals and Schubert’s Ave Maria.

Why boys (don’t) sing

Carol Beynon

The University of Western Ontario, Canada

One of the most disturbing yet interesting phenomena in singing, especially in western society, is the numbers of boys and men who choose not to sing. According to Weston Noble, “boys and men account for only about 7% of the world’s choral singers.” At the same time, we know that aesthetic experiences, such as singing in choirs, allow people opportunity for creative expression in a form that transgresses the normal and normative forms of communication while providing social and aesthetic experiences that shape the lives forever. Meaningful and artistic experiences lead toward the emotional side of life, a side of life that is often denied to young boys and men by societal attitudes and pressures because it is not seen as a viable form of masculinity. In this study, I report on interviews with 12 young men from 14 to 23 years of age who sing in the Tenor-Bass Ensemble of the Amabile Boys Choirs in London, Ontario, Canada. They talk about their experiences as adolescent males in a society that traditionally belittles or ridicules them for their behavior as singers. Through this study, they talk about the ongoing pressures they experience from family, peers, community members, and strangers to quit or continue singing. Through analyzing their responses, some initial conclusions are drawn as to why some males sing and why most don’t.

From church to concert hall: Choral music of R. Nathaniel Dett

Brainerd Blyden-Taylor

Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Canada

The presentation will offer a brief retrospective of the development of the choral music of R. Nathaniel Dett (with audio examples) from simple ring shouts, spirituals and hymns, to more complex motet, anthem and cantata forms.

A crowd of jolly trappers: Labrador trapping songs

Tim Borlase

Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

Labrador’s folk song tradition is unique in a number of different ways. One of these, is in the way that songs were conceived - often alone, on a bunk, with only a candle’s flicker, inside a tiny trapper’s tilt, hundreds of miles from home. This session will acquaint the audience with the Labrador tapping tradition and demonstrate how the subject matter of these early songs is still reflected in modern songwriting. There will be an opportunity to sing in this session and to listen to derivations of early trapping songs.

Hearing the voices of “singing schools”

Jenny Boyack

Massey University, New Zealand

Following the release of the Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum (2000), the Ministry of Education has, through the six national Colleges of Education, funded extensive professional development for teachers as they implement the new curriculum. In the course of her work as a music facilitator across the central region of the North Island, the researcher encountered a number of schools which identified themselves as “singing schools”.

In this study, the researcher explores the notion of a “singing school” in relation to three contrasting New Zealand primary (elementary) schools: an integrated Catholic School, a school with a bilingual unit, and a high decile (socio-economic rating) city school. Interviews, observations and analysis of documents were used to investigate the songs, practices, beliefs, and attitudes of principals, teachers, students and the wider school community. The study also considers the relationship between the concept of the “singing school” and each school’s learning and teaching programs in singing.

This paper reports on the study’s preliminary findings which reflect the diverse range of values and cultural practices in Aotearoa New Zealand. Particular attention is given to the impact of Maori, and to a lesser extent, Pacific Nations’ cultures and values on the singing practices and programs in the schools being studied.

The gospel sound: Style and technique

Horace Clarence Boyer

Composer/Arranger, Conductor, United States

This presentation will consist of an analysis of the gospel sound through the transformation of a traditional hymn into a gospel song. Participants will serve as a gospel "choir," executing such characteristic devices as song "leading", "call and response", scoops and slides, and percussive attacks with explosive releases. The singing will be accompanied by the obligatory body rhythm including the gospel "rock" and hand clapping.

Bringing the past to the present: A history of the Brazeal Dennard Chorale

Abigail Butler

Wayne State University, United States

The year 2002 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Brazeal Dennard Chorale. Dedicated to the preservation and promotion of African American choral music, this Detroit based ensemble has inspired audiences throughout the United States and around the world. Through their moving performances, numerous recordings, and conference appearances, the Chorale has worked hard to further our understanding and appreciation of the African American spiritual.

Brazeal Dennard founded the Chorale in 1972 for the purpose of providing highly trained African American singers to perform quality music within a variety of professional venues. In order to extend these performance opportunities to other African Americans within the Detroit area, the Chorale later organized the Brazeal Dennard Community chorus and the Brazeal Dennard Youth Chorale. The Community Chorus offers opportunities for amateur singers to develop their vocal skills and perform in a variety of settings while the Youth Chorale provides young singers between the ages of 13 and 22 with the chance to study and perform music of the highest calibre.

Using historical and qualitative methodologies, this paper will present a history of the Brazeal Dennard Chorale, documenting the contributions of the ensemble and the founding director, Brazeal Dennard, toward the advancement of African American choral music. In addition, this paper seeks to explore the role of the Chorale in shaping both a cultural and musical identity for African Americans as well as their perceptions of that identity.

Teaching songs of America’s Victorian era: 1880

Judith Cline

Hollins University, United States
In America’s Victorian era, roughly 1880 to 1920, there arose a genre of song writing intended for use in the home as teaching tools for young children. Many of America’s composers added to this repertoire including well-known and widely published composers, such as Carrie Jacobs Bond and Ethelbert Nevin. These songs dealt with subjects such as essential moral lessons, i.e., the difference between right and wrong, and some rather obscure lessons such as how to treat a new book or the importance of getting dressed upon arising in the morning. The audience was the child and the performer was likely to be the mother or nanny. Composed during the zenith of piano acquisition in the United States, the rather sophisticated accompaniments were written for a proficient level of playing, which many women possessed at this time. The writing for the voice is also of a moderate level, but not intended for children to sing; rather the child was expected to listen to the sound of the mother’s voice communicating these lessons.

The sociological implications of children of that time being taught life lessons by their mothers or caretakers in a home setting, listening to living human beings playing and singing to the best of their abilities, compared to today’s children being sung to by a purple dinosaur via enhanced electronic media are compelling.

In this lecture/demonstration, I will discuss the genre of the teaching song, its presence and importance in the American Victorian home, and introduce a sampling of this song repertoire in performance.
Sharing their voices: A short history of choral societies in nineteenth-century Newfoundland

Glenn Colton

Lakehead University, Canada
Newfoundland in the nineteenth century was a land of economic hardship and political change. The fishery-based economy suffered intermittent collapses, poverty was widespread, and the island’s political landscapes underwent a series of sweeping changes in its evolution from British colony to self-governing nation.

Yet amidst this climate of uncertainty and turmoil, a new society defiantly emerged. It was a society in which music was to play a central role, as music education and performance developed and flourished. As early as 1811, advertisements for musical instruction could be found in Newfoundland’s first newspaper, the Royal Gazette, and by mid-century, reference

to printed sheet music, musical instrument sales, and music lessons abounded in the local press. Military and civilian bands marched through the streets of St. John’s, Harbour Grace and other major ports while newly constructed halls (such as the St. John’s Athenaeum of 1879), inspired a burgeoning tradition of public concerts.

This paper will explore the growth and development of early choral societies in Newfoundland as reflective of an emerging Newfoundland society. Included in this discussion will be reference to the St. John’s Handel and Hayden society (1838), The St. John’s Parochial Choral Society (1848), and, most notable, the St. John’s Choral Society (1878-88). Drawing upon archival documents, such as historical reviews, concert notices, programs, and annual reports, this paper will show how such societies were pivotal to the cultivation of singing traditions in colonial Newfoundland.

The right place of singing in schools: An appraisal of the work of Sir Arthur Somervell


Gordon Cox

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