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Re-sounding: Refuge and reprise in a prison choral community

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Abstract:

This article examines a men's prison chorus in a close security Ohio prison. The purpose of the project is, broadly, to understand how a men's prison choral community (UMOJA) impacts inmate self-perception, intra-group relationships and external connections. These external connections include choral recordings where the proceeds from the CD sales benefit charities of the inmates' choosing. This component helps the prisoners connect with the larger society outside prison. To this end, the following research questions were investigated: (1) How does the inmates' participation in UMOJA affect their experience of daily life in prison including their self perception? (2) How does musical performance, especially of inmate-composed choral repertoire, affect the choir as a community (intra-group, relationships, external connections)? Throughout the article the men's names have been changed to protect their privacy.

Keywords: Ohio arts in prison; art as rehabilitation; men's chorus; prison choral community

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/ijcm.3.1.91/1

Affiliations: Wilmington College.

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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  • The International Journal of Community Music publishes research articles, practical discussions, timely reviews, readers' notes and special issues concerning all aspects of Community Music. The editorial board is composed of leading international scholars and practitioners spanning diverse disciplines that reflect the scope of Community Music practice and theory.
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