Karen Ahlquist's "Chorus and Community" represents the first focused look at choruses not only as a source of music but as organizations that come together for aesthetic, social, political, and religious purposes, and are found throughout history, cultures, and around the world. The volume's thirteen essays discuss groups including an East African chorus; groups from nineteenth-century England, Germany, and America; early twentieth-century Russian Menonites; barbershops; Soviet workers' clubs; a Sardinian brotherhood; an Australian symphonic choir; women's garment workers in Pennsylvania; and gay and lesbian choruses. The essays range from the celebratory to the analytical and critical, but they collectively work to demonstrate that these diverse choruses not only make music, but may also use it to foster an idealized social system. One essay shows the surprising power of a chorus to influence social change by examining the African American Fisk Jubilee Singers' 1877 trip to the Netherlands, where they reminded Dutch audiences of their nation's participation in the slave trade. An accompanying CD illustrates the choruses and traditions discussed in the book.
Karen Ahlquist is chair and an associate professor in the Department of Music at George Washington University. She is the author of Democracy at the Opera: Music, Theater, and Culture in New York City, 1815-60.
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- ID: 9780252030376
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