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Scholarly Abstraction: Community Choir Singing

(The abstract to the article “Update on Community Choir Singing in the United States,” by Cindy L. Bell, published in the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing)
This article reviews and responds to recent reports by professional music and arts associations, most prominently the 2003 Chorus America study, announcing that over 23 million American adults sing weekly in community-based choirs. By considering this recent research in combination with studies of community choirs spanning the past 40 years, this article presents an updated literature review of the research on adult amateur singers. These studies produce a consistent demographic and musical profile of today’s adult amateur singer and point to collective universal issues facing community choirs, such as diversity, gender, and developing communication systems. In focusing on the significance of community music in the lives of adult amateur musicians, the author proposes research agendas and models for addressing emergent issues. Additionally, this article advocates that community choirs are valuable resources by which to construct research studies that examine the long-term effects of public school music education and extend our knowledge of lifelong musical learning.
(“Scholarly Abstractions” is a feature highlighting brief abstracts from recent graduate projects in choral music and research published in the IJRCS.  To share your thesis abstract, contact Scott Dorsey at
on April 9, 2014 7:29am
A fine analysis, yet the study is 10 years old.  And studies like this are based upon data that is old before the study is published, that's a truth of the genre.  Much remains the same, yet changes in our demographics and consumption patterns, the near constancy of personal music delivered via music players, the assaults upon our ears and time that pass for music, etc. evolve now at explosive rates.  In recent weeks ChoralNet has seen somewhat distraught discussions by voice teachers facing a new generation of voices who sing to imitate sounds strained through soundboards.  One wonders what changes that, and the influences of Glee, America's Got Talent, Idol, Sing-off, etc. would effect in a current parallel study of community singing.