Type of Document Dissertation Author Knight, Gerald Roderick Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-07172006-160556 Title The Music Philosophies, Choral Concepts, and Rehearsal Practices of Two African-American Choral Conductors Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Music, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Kevin Fenton Committee Chair Alice-Ann Darrow Committee Member Clifford Madsen Committee Member Judy Bowers Committee Member Richard Morris Committee Member Keywords
- Black Musicians
- Blacks in Classical Music
- African-American Music Educators
- Blacks in Music Education
Date of Defense 2006-04-13 Availability unrestricted AbstractThe skills and knowledge required to consistently produce choral ensembles that perform at the highest artistic levels indicate the conductor’s acquisition and application of a set of standards or values. These values encompass an essential body of thought and ability that is common to outstanding choral conductors. Historically, African American choral conductors have been recognized for having these values but only as it pertained to their expert ability to produce spirituals and other music by black composers. However, relatively recently, several African American choral conductors have come into the mainstream of choral music and music education who are receiving acclaim for their ability to conduct music of various genres, particularly music of the western classical tradition and multicultural (world music) repertoires.
Judith Willoughby and André Thomas expressed a set of values that are derived from their backgrounds including musical experiences, academic training, professional experiences, life experiences, and philosophical beliefs about humanity and music. They demonstrated 1) vast knowledge of the important choral works of the major compositional periods and their intrinsic stylistic characteristics 2) substantial knowledge of choral literature not routinely performed from the major periods 3) immense knowledge of multicultural music and keen awareness of and sensibility to the authentic performance practice of such music 4) an unwavering commitment to the study and performance of multicultural music contributing to the expansion of the core body of routinely performed choral literature 5) viable criteria for the selection of music based on the skill and values they want to promote in singers 6) the ability to thoroughly prepare scores using various analytical strategies 8) the ability to anticipate potential problems and solve problems in rehearsals and devise pedagogical strategies to correct such problems and 9) preference for choral tone ideal that is dependent upon vowel uniformity, steadiness of pitch, even vibrato, ease of vocal production, energy and appropriateness of sound for each composition.
The purpose of this study is to document the demonstrated values of Willoughby and Thomas in order to: 1) determine how the values influence and enliven their artistry 2) provide minorities and women with exemplary models that they can emulate 3) inform the profession of the contributions that minorities and women continue to make to the choral art and 4) provide an historical record of the accomplishments of choral musicians and educators who have and continue to set standards for the profession.
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