Friday, July 25, 2008

Nostalgia Friday: ISGC

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For the next week, I will be focusing entirely on the research and writing of my research proposal, the final paper for my qualitative research methods class. Today, I've been looking through Robert D. Putnam's "Bowling Alone," which talks about how Americans are gradually becoming more disconnected from one another and the implications this has. The primary theoretical basis of the book deals with a concept called "social capital." Boiled way down, social capital is what you and a group reap from you being part of a group and the group helps the individual socialize.

This has me thinking about my choir back in Boston, the Inner Strength Gospel Choir at Boston University. Not only because my Masters project was inspired by my time with the choir, but also because the choir is the source of a lot of many people's social capital. Neither the choir nor its members are the same with the other lacking. This becomes even more apparent during "Tour," when the choir goes on the road to Baltimore or Detroit or Oakland to sing and do a service project or two and grow closer to one another.

I only went on one tour in my tenure with the choir, to Baltimore in the Spring of 2007. I roomed with my already good friend Paloma and we both got sick on the day that half the choir decided to fall ill. We spent the day in our room, being crabby, snot-filled messes, but in seeing each other at our worst, we actually grew closer (and always have something to laugh about).

This shot, which has always been my favorite from the trip, is from the day after we were sick (everyone who had been ill (flu, food poisoning) miraculously recovered), early in the morning as Paloma ironed her skirt in preparation for the first of two concerts that day. That Sunday was joy-filled - full of smiles and song - and our evening concert was definitely the best of the tour. We bonded as a choir and as friends; the semester-end concert two months later still sustained the close-knit energy sparked on tour.

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