Collaborative ethnography of music and religion in Edmonton
Whoever wishes to post research please do so here. Put your name in double square brackets, and then add text, photos, whatever (for photos you need to upload and then link as follows). I hope this will develop into a really interesting web-based collaborative study, far beyond the end of the course...
Assignment and ethics
Note: the telephone book provides a ready list of religious organizations in town. You can also check for web sites. Don't be afraid to cold call - this is part of the fieldwork experience. If one group is not receptive, you can always move on to another.
Oral reports - signups
Please add your name to your preferred day. Don't everyone select April 6th! (think of the advantages of finishing this early!)
Note: please add your name after clicking on one of the links below...
Your project descriptions
Please include a one-paragraph writeup of what you plan to do. Sign your entry.
I'm planning to do my fieldwork at the Vedanta Centre of Greater Washington DC during the reading week period. My plans are to attend a retreat at the Centre, as well as attend two additional meetings. (There are usually two classes and several music sessions during each week, so I will go to at least one of each, in addition to the retreat which is regarded as a special event.) I need to request permission to take notes during the events, as well as possibly tape them (particularly the music). I've found that I can schedule interviews with members and ministers by appointment, so I'm going to to start working on that as soon as I've discussed the nature of the project with the ministers. Ethical issues involved are informed consent to tape portions of the event, as well as making sure that the people whom I interview understand the project. I will offer anonymity to everyone involved, and I will not reveal anyone's identity unless I have express written permission. Finally, I am willing to share a copy of the final report with the Centre. --Niyati 12:26, 25 January 2006 (MST)
Fieldwork Project Description: 3-5 visits for participant-observation at the Korean Pureland Buddhist Temple in Riverdale. They meet Tuesdays and Thursdays to practice Qi Gong, and were originally organized by Dr. Stephen Aung--a highly respected leader in western medicine, traditional chinese medicine and wholistic practices, much admired by Complimentary Alternative Medicine therapists/practitioners as well as by the conventional western scientific medical community. While Qi Gong is generally perceived by westerners as a sort of 'energy martial art for healing', the fact that it is practised in a modest temple supports the indigenous/wholistic worldview of the inseperability of spirit and physical practise. The first and only time I visited this 'temple-house' was approximately 2 years ago. They were very friendly and willing to set aside some time for further discussion. Their use of chakra centres for the chanting of sacred sounds is of particular interest to the study of sound, chant, spirit and healing. I hope to produce a research paper/presentation that will serve to demystify debilitating misconceptions about 'Eastern Mysticism' (viz., that ritual practise serves no function--RE: Staal reading) while maintaining the sense of awe, respect and reverence these practises deserve (RE: Flanagan's use of Otto's "numinous" experience, and the irreducibility of practise/experience to function). I will seek permission from the members before any audio or video recordings are taken of them. I also hope to interview a good cross-section of the members and transcribe as permitted.Kreisha/Christine Oro
- FYI: If you're not very familiar with Edmonton's religious communities, you might want to go for a walk in the area bordered to the West by 101 Street and to the East by 93 Street, to the North by 118 Avenue and to the South by 106 Avenue (maybe down to 104 Ave on the eastern border). This is the area that local newspapers/print/word-of-mouth refer to as the "highest number of churches/religious institutions per capita" in a small geographic area. There is a Vietnamese Institute for Buddhist Research (aka a functioning monastery) on 97 Street and 113 Ave (meet Friday evenings, last I heard), a Tibetan Lama by the name of Kusho on 114 Ave and 101 Street (Tuesdays at 7pm for beginners), a Church of LIfe on 118 Ave and 101 Street (in Boston Pizza plaza), a Native-Christian Church led by Father Jim, a gospel church on the east central border, a Ukrainian Orthodox church, the Mustard Seed (Anglican?), a Unitarian Church, and many more, I am sure. There is also the Centre For Spiritual Awareness on 101 Ave. just 2 or 3 blocks west of 75 Street (major street), the B'hai Faith is still on Whyte Ave (107 Street block), I believe, and a Sikh (?) temple (?) further east on Whyte Ave on the south-side of the ave heading towards Bonnie Doon located in an ex-cinema building marked by captions such as "Baba says: 'Help Ever; Hurt Never'". There is also a local caucasian guru by the name of John DeReuter who reportedly uses the 'divine gaze', for any of you who might be interested in pursuing the 'sound of silence' theme. I will also take this opportunity to invite any of you to try a Sweat Lodge--as long as you don't ask me to be one of your informants (email my alternate address <firstname.lastname@example.org>). Failing these suggestions, you might want to visit the Earth's General Store on Whyte Ave and 107 street, above Gordon Price Music. They have a great bulletin board downstairs as well as upstairs in the actual store.
Good Luck and Happy Seeking~~User: Kreisha /Christine Oro.***
After playing telephone tag a while, I've finally spoken to someone and received basic permission to visit the Ethiopian Orthodox Church which is not far from downtown. I plan to attend several of their Sunday morning services, which last most of the morning. In terms of ethical issues I will seek permission before photograph or tape part of the service, and make sure the people that I interview understand my project. I will offer them annonymity unless I have their written permission for me to use their name. Other issues that relate include acting with sensitivity towards their customs and beliefs. My contact person has asked me to call him a few days before I attend a service so that he can help me with things like remember to remove my shoes and knowing where to sit. I plan to wait until after I have visited at least once before asking about taping or photographs, that way I will have a better understanding and will have met the people involved. ~--Cari 11:54, 28 January 2006 (MST)
I was unsure where I wanted to go with this project when it was first introduced to us at the beginning of the term. I came home and, as is our custom, shared my new classes with my roommate as she shared hers with me. She became quite excited about this project, and suggested that I go with her to the St. Herman's Orthodox Church a few times. Her Godmother's husband is the Pastor there, and has granted me permission to audio-tape the service. In addition I am thinking about attending the Young Adult Vespers with my roommate, in order to be able to do compare and contrast in the report. (Regular service being Sunday mornings, and with Vespers Saturday night). My roommate has also agreed to become my guinea pig in the sense that she will answer any questions that I have, giving me both an emic and etic point of view. --Khaver 15:05, 28 January 2006 (MST)
I've received permission from the West Edmonton 7th Day Adventist Church to attend their services and basically get free run of the place. I haven't specifically asked to video tape the sermons, but I doubt I will have a problem. I would like to get some audio recordings, as the service is highly musical. Unfortunately, all the field work has to be done from 9 am on Saturday to about 12:30 pm, when the second service ends. If you're having trouble emailing institutions, just start calling them because I found the turnaround time on phone calls to be less than 6 hours, whereas emails go unanswered for days.--Andre 14:18, 29 January 2006 (MST)
I attended church service today at Penuel Christian Assembly at 10802-93 Street. They were very welcoming and friendly. I spoke with some people that seemed to be key members, and they were quite receptive. Most of them are from D.R. Congo, and the service is in both French and English (some of the members only speak French, and are learning English), but there are other Africans in the congregation (entirely African). I will get the permission to video tape a service next week when I return. --Stella 21:51, 29 January 2006 (MST) Change of plan-- I have been attending the Christian Missionary Alliance Church in Redwater, Alberta. the services are more conservative than I am used to, but it has been good. --Stella 00:06, 20 March 2006 (MST)
I'm hoping to do my fieldwork at Holy Trinity Anglican Church (I know the music director, but haven't been able to get permission yet). I want to compare the three main uses of music employed in the service--congregation, choir, and organ--and I want to see if they (either congregation or music leaders) associate any particular meaning, prestige or function to one over the others. As more of a personal interest, I'm curious to ask just how long they've been singing/playing the same kind of genres and how easy or difficult it would be to incorporate change.--Lpauls 21:59, 1 February 2006 (MST)
I have approached the Westwood Unitarian Congregation. They conveniantly had a music-themed service this Sunday. I am interested in the way that their universal, socially active, and somewhat multidenominational attitude affects their music and how their musical worship has adapted to include a lot of different belief systems and styles of worship. I'm curious in what form music fits into this less strictly defined worship. --Gloria 16:37, 5 February 2006 (MST)
I currently have two possible options for my fieldwork project. One is the Central Baptist church which meets on sunday mornings and has an interesting aspect to it in that the younger people meet in a separete congregation in the basement of the church. The other option I am looking at is a small off-shoot of the Babtist religion that I was introduced to by my mother. She attended a funeral service for the father-in-law of the preacher/minister? of the group and said that they had really unbelievable gospel music in the service. I have not decided between the two as of yet simply because I am having problems tracking down the information for the second option. Hopefully I will know soon.--KellyM 21:09, 6 February 2006 (MST)
I will conduct fieldwork at the Beth Shalom synagogue on Jsper Ave in Edmonton. It will be interesting for me because I was raised a Christian and Judaism was always referred to with great respect. I have never attended a synagogue so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. -- Cbiel 15:56, 7 February 2006 (MST)
I am going to a Pentecostal church near my house. They have services on Sunday mornings and Sunday nights, so I am going to try to go to both to see the differences in the use of music in the two types of services. The Sunday night service is more youth-oriented, while the morning service is family oriented. --Megfow 14:45, 24 February 2006 (MST)
I am attending Cornerstone New Testament Church of God, a charismatic Christian church downtown which ministers primarily to some of Edmonton's black population (self-defined as such; mostly first and second generation immigrants, and from all over Africa, the Carribean and elsewhere). The pastor, Rev. McNeil, has studied "black" preaching (as he puts it) and preaches in this style in each service. The sermon generally progresses from a more teaching aspect to a more performative, high-energy inspirational aspect, complete with music and congregational response, and seems to smoothly move into a time of congregational singing. While the whole service itself is full of music, and there a long period of singing before the sermon, it is the part of music and rhythmic aspects in the delivery of the sermon that may be the focus of my study. --22.214.171.124 13:51, 4 March 2006 (MST)
Due to the exigencies of life, I am going to do fieldwork at my own church, Southgate Alliance (south of Southgate Mall in the Duggan area of Edmonton). This will be "insider" research to a large degree because I play keyboard and help to coordinate music rehearsals at the church. For me, doing the classic "outsider" model fieldwork will have to wait for another day; I hope that my presentation will offer a useful contrast to other presentations which are more from the perspective of the outsider. My method will be to interview members of one of the worship teams (musicians, service planners and song leaders) before or after a Thursday night rehearsal and before and after the following Sunday service at which they lead worship singing.--user: dstark
Wow, I'm really late doing this. I totally forgot about it. I did my research at the Beth Shalom Synagogue. The whole service is chanted, so it was very different from what I'm used to at church. I had not other connection to the synagogue, just found them on the internet. I attended their Saturday morning service for 3 weeks, and just listened as much as I could; recording is strictly forbidden in the synagogue on Shabbat.--Meghanbowen 13:18, 26 March 2006 (MST)
If you wish to share your report with others, add a local link by putting your name between two sets of brackets, clicking on the link, and pasting your report. We can collectively establish an ethnography of music in religious ritual in Edmonton if you wish, and continue working on this together beyond the scope of this course.
Example of a link: John Doe's ethnography report
Comments on this exercise
I'm having a great time. This could even get addictive...--Gloria 00:04, 20 March 2006 (MST)