Book

I Belong to This Band, Hallelujah!

Laura Clawson

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780226109589
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226109633 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226109633.001.0001
I Belong to This Band, Hallelujah!

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The Sacred Harp choral singing tradition originated in the American South in the mid-nineteenth century, spread widely across the country, and continues to thrive today. Sacred Harp is not performed but participated in, ideally in large gatherings where, as the a cappella singers face each other around a hollow square, the massed voices take on a moving and almost physical power. This book portrays several Sacred Harp groups and looks at how they manage to maintain a sense of community despite their members' often profound differences. The author's research took her to Alabama and Georgia, to Chicago and Minneapolis, and to Hollywood for a Sacred Harp performance at the Academy Awards, a potent symbol of the conflicting forces at play in the twenty-first-century incarnation of this old genre. She finds that in order for Sacred Harp singers to maintain the bond forged by their love of music, they must grapple with a host of difficult issues, including how to maintain the authenticity of their tradition and how to carefully negotiate the tensions created by their disparate cultural, religious, and political beliefs.

Keywords: choral singing; a cappella; Alabama; Georgia; Chicago; Minneapolis; Hollywood; Academy Awards; cultural beliefs; religious beliefs

Book.  218 pages. 

Subjects: American Music

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Table of Contents

Going Hollywood in I Belong to This Band, Hallelujah!

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Conclusion in I Belong to This Band, Hallelujah!

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