A Chinese faith-based inclusive choir in the US: exploring the shared journey of conductors and singers

Annabella Fung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This phenomenological study explored the lived experiences of the directors and singers of a church choir. The choral directors were a Chinese-American migrant couple. They experienced resistance to their Christian faith and Western music learning, but they became accomplished musicians. This study investigated the couple's (in)formal music learning with familial-financial constraints and the shared journey of the conductors and singers. The researcher interviewed the couple, and they administered a survey among their choristers. The questions explored the purpose and motivation for choir participation and diverse aspects of community singing. The dataset was member-checked by the participants and followed up for consistency six months later. The researcher analysed the data using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, and the findings were triangulated by an independent auditor and the conductor. Four overarching themes emerged: cooperative learning; worship and spirituality in music; fellowship, collective identity, and positive aging; and stewardship and performing theology through song embodiment. This study encouraged active musicmaking among novice adult learners. Through their musical engagement, they preserved their ethnic languages, religious faith, and cultural heritage and promoted personal development and emotional well-being. It recognised that senior citizens can develop new skills and continue to contribute to society positively through volunteerism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-32
Number of pages16
JournalThe International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Cooperative learning
  • Fellowship and positive aging
  • Stewardship
  • Worship and spirituality

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