“Lead with Love: The Non-Religious Spirituality of Voices 21C”

Members of the Case Western Reserve University community are invited to join the Department of Music for a talk titled “Lead with Love: The Non-Religious Spirituality of Voices 21C” Friday, Sept. 15, at 4 p.m. 

Christopher Clark, director of choirs and full-time lecturer in music education, will discuss a study based on interviews regarding the spiritual experiences of participants/singers in Voices 21C, a social justice choir based in Boston.

The members of the ensemble are diverse in regard to their chosen religions, and a larger-than-average segment of the ensemble are non-religious. However, all members interviewed report spiritual experiences as they relate to van der Merwe and Habron’s (2015) conceptual model of spirituality in music education. 

Participants reported spiritual experiences in all four of the domains, and at a significantly greater number than in other ensembles. This is due to multiple factors, including the process that the ensemble engages in to have authentic and vulnerable conversations that focus significantly on the topical content of the larger programmatic elements, such as improv and staging.

About the speaker

Clark directs the Case Concert Choir and Case Men’s Glee Club, teaches vocal skills and pedagogy and mentors students in choral music education. Before coming to Case Western Reserve, Clark was director of vocal music for the Southern Berkshire Regional School District in Sheffield, Massachusetts, teaching choir to students in grades 3–12 with nine distinct choral ensembles. The district has been designated a “Best Community for Music Education” by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation for the past six years. 

Clark’s research interests include the use of improvisation in the choral classroom, and how the religiosity of a teacher overtly or discreetly influences student instruction. His article on James MacMillan’s “Cantos Sagrados” was recently published in the American Choral Directors Association publication, The Choral Journal

He is a frequent honor choir conductor and presenter at music education conferences such as the International Society for Music Education, the National Association for Music Education National Conference, The World Choral Expo in Lisbon, Portugal, the ACDA Eastern Division Conference, as well as the Music Education Associations of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio and Maryland. 

Clark was designated a 2013 Yale “Distinguished Music Educator,” a 2019 Berkshire County “40 under 40,” and is a quarterfinalist for the 2022 Grammy Music Education Award.