Show Less
Restricted access

A River Rather Than a Road

The Community Choir as Spiritual Experience


Sarah Morgan and June Boyce-Tillman

This book is an auto-ethnographic account of the development of a charismatic community choir leader. It brings together management literature and a survey of the community choir scene with the development of community choir leadership. It provides a useful introduction to the sustaining of community choirs, including the use of English folksong
material in this context. Some useful arrangements of folk songs are included. Community singing events are described with helpful advice on setting up and managing these. It presents a useful model of the range of skills necessary for aspiring community choir leaders. This is linked with the formation of a community that contains spiritual elements; this is theorized in relation to the role of the parish church in communal singing. It also discusses the two aesthetics of choral singing and the relationship between oral and literate traditions. The book arises from the engagement of the University of Winchester in partnership with the local community, which is theorized.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access



This book is an exploration of English community choirs, their music and their leadership from a very personal perspective, which brings together Sarah Morgan’s background as a folk musician, her career in training and facilitation, and her developing understanding of the world of the choir. Much of this book was originally submitted for a Professional Doctorate at the University of Winchester. Sadly, Sarah died before completing the degree. She was awarded the qualification posthumously. The submission for this qualification involved a context statement and a box of evidence (see the Appendix). The Sarah Morgan Foundation was concerned that her significant contribution to the field was made available to the wider public. As her Director of Studies at the university I have edited her context statement for this publication without the box of evidence (which is available at the University of Winchester). Chapters 2, 3 and 4 are exactly as Sarah wrote them. The Prelude and Postlude are mine and set out a frame for seeing the community choir as spiritual experience based on inclusion, the valuing of diversity and commitment to the musicality of everyone; it is seen as replacing in some ways the communal singing that characterized parish worship when most of a community attended church regularly. Chapter 1 is slightly adapted and Chapter 5 is completely my work as editor, as it was left only in draft at Sarah’s death. In the Prelude, Postlude and Chapter 5 the first person referred to is June Boyce-Tillman, but...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.