Weber, Amanda Kate. (2018). “Choral Singing and Communal Mindset: A program evaluation of the Voices of Hope women’s prison choir.” Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Minnesota.
Author Affiliations: University of Minnesota
Artforms: choral singing, music
Program: Voices of Hope
Program Description: Women’s prison choir at Minnesota Correctional Facility in Shakopee. The choir was formed in 2015, has 50 members, rehearses once a week, collaborates with “outside” musicians and performs within the prison walls several times a year.
Program (Study) Location: Minnesota Correctional Facility, Shakopee, MN
Participant Type: incarcerated singers and collaborators
Sample Size: 94 (23 singers and 71 collaborators)
Study Published: Unpublished
Data Type: Case study evaluation employing surveys and interviews
Evaluation Focus: “The ways in which choral singing creates a communal mindset – developing skills of listening, empathy, and advocating for one another.” Specific research questions included:
- How singers described their experience of choral singing in prison, including any perceived emotional, behavioral and social impacts
- How collaborators describe their experience of choral singing in prison, how their view of incarceration has changed and the likelihood that action will spark further action
- Does the the experience of Voices of Hope singers align with the organizational mission?
- What is the role of the Voices of Hope in the wider community?
Summary of Impact: Responses from participants indicates that singers “found that choral singing invoked inward healing, positivity, empowerment and a sense of community for incarcerated singers” while “[C]ollaborators found the experience to be educational, transformative, positive, humbling and difficult.”
KEYWORDS: adult, advocacy, behavioral impact, choral singing, community, empowerment, music, social impact, women