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PROJECT TOPIC: CHALLENGES IN CHORAL CONDUCTING A CASE STUDY IN EXQUISITE CHOIR

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the Study

The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Music Fifth Edition (2007) by Kennedy and Kennedy defines a choir or chorus as a mixed voice choir (or chorus) which is one of both women and men. A male voice choir is (usually) of men only, but may be of boys and men. A double  choir is one arranged in two equal and complete bodies, with a view not merely to singing in eight parts but also to responsive effects. Chorus tends to be used for secular bodies; there may be many exceptions (Kennedy and Kennedy 2007: 145). According to Crowley, his article published in 2012 speculates that;

There is a risk that in using choirs for everything from helping fragmented communities to stress relief, we drag them down to the level of the mundane. Choirs have been with us a long time. They have their origins in Greek Tragedy and the Italian Renaissance. Fifty years ago they were commonplace in our schools, workplaces and social organizations, but until recently most of us had come to associate them with Christmas concerts and village halls.

In addition, he explains that, though they are making a spectacular comeback like the growth of book clubs, debating societies and various specialist interest groups, choirs have benefitted from a renewed interest in communal activities. New choirs are popping up around the country. Friends and workmates are getting together, forming their own groups or joining existing choirs in greater numbers. Organizations and institutions are helping ordinary members of the public find their voice for the first time.

Crowley (2015) in his article continues to argue that, choirs have moral dimension, which involves oneself and others in choral and music societies. This is generally seen as a form of self-improvement, and as a means of keeping the lower orders out of the pub and out of political intrigue. No matter how their social function has changed over the last few hundred years, there has always been a spiritual or metaphysical dimension to choirs. Whether it is reaching up to God, the act of making music for its own sake, or simply the immersive, almost magical experience of singing in harmony with others, choral music has the power to lift us up above our individual, everyday lives.

The concept of the choir system as an institution in Africa gained the publicity in the choral music industry about three decades ago and had since met the admiration and approval of the Africaian populace, particularly the youth. The upsurge of these choirs with its dynamics of processes and development in most instances emanate from power and conflicts, construction of individual and group identities, ownership rights, financial and others are some of the challenges that reared their heads in the existing group as a result of members’ interaction and interrelation. These conflicts and confusions which occur within the groups or choirs end up in the breakaway of some members to join or form new groups.

 


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