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Using voice to make musical and social connections
journal contributionposted on 2015-01-01, 00:00 authored by Dawn JosephDawn Joseph
Community music is a rich and ongoing activity-taking place in formal and informal settings around Australia. This small-scale phenomenological qualitative case study is part of my wider study Spirituality and Wellbeing: Music in the Community that began in 2013. This paper demonstrates that community music making in a regional district in Victoria (Australia) makes it possible for choirs to use their voice to make musical and social connections to self and community that enhances both personal and community wellbeing. In May 2014, I visited three choirs for a week in the city of Warnnambool. Drawing on observation, questionnaires and focus group semi-structured interviews, I analysed the data using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The findings include why people join choirs in regional towns, what they enjoyed that contributed to their wellbeing and why they want to sing about issues that make connections to social justice and sustainability. Though generalisations cannot be made to other towns or choirs, the findings show the need, importance and benefits of connecting to each other and the wider community. Using voice can serve as an effective platform to promote issues in the community such as social justice and the environment. It is hoped that the findings may provide a vehicle for further dialogue where choirs in other settings may experience similar connections to their community.