Amateur community choruses: exploratory case studies of ensembles in Texas
Pendleton, Joe C.
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This study is a qualitative examination of the origins and organizational information of selected amateur community choruses in the state of Texas. This study is designed as an in-depth evaluation of each ensemble and will compare the methodology used by these ensembles in specific areas. The conclusions reached in the results of this research revealed unified musical purposes across the choirs like advancing the choral art and producing beautiful music, while an incredible diversity of methods are employed to achieve those purposes. The comparison of methods is organized by grouped responses to interview questions, and then placed in chapters by general areas of information addressed in the questions. The responses were gleaned from personal interviews with the directors of these organizations. This study does not offer a musical comparison or success evaluation of the ensembles, but compares the organizational methods used to achieve the goals listed in the chorus’s mission statements. Additionally, the selection of choruses does not represent a cross section of amateur community choruses in Texas, but closely examines the operation and activities of six choirs. The criteria for selecting the choirs for this study included their proximity to each other, which allowed me to interview each director in person. There are three groupings that emerged as a result of the interviews; unique circumstances, shared circumstances, and unified purpose. Concerning unique factors, the focuses of this study are a symphony chorus, a gender-specific chorus, a chorus supported by a religious school, a children’s chorus, a true stand-alone chorus, and a chorus associated with a state university. Secondly, the ensembles can be grouped by certain shared circumstances, such as funding support. One group is fully funded by a parent arts organization, three must raise their own support individually, and two are given some support by a larger educational organization. Finally, every organization shares the goals of advancing the choral art, being challenged by the rigors of rehearsal and performance, and producing beautiful music.