A Queerly Joyful Noise (Paperback)
Choral Musicking for Social Justice
Rutgers University Press, 9780813588384, 224pp.
Publication Date: November 10, 2017
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A Queerly Joyful Noise examines how choral singing can be both personally transformative and politically impactful. As they blend their different voices to create something beautiful, LGBTIQ singers stand together and make themselves heard. Comparing queer choral performances to the uses of group singing within the civil rights and labor movements, Julia “Jules” Balén maps the relationship between different forms of oppression and strategic musical forms of resistance. She also explores the potential this queer communal space creates for mobilizing progressive social action.
A proud member of numerous queer choruses, Balén draws from years of firsthand observations, archival research, and extensive interviews to reveal how queer chorus members feel shared vulnerability, collective strength, and even moments of ecstasy when performing. A Queerly Joyful Noise serves as a testament to the power of music, intimately depicting how participation in a queer chorus is more than a pastime, but a meaningful form of protest through celebration.
About the Author
JULIA “JULES” BALÉN, professor of English and a founding faculty member of Chicana/o Studies, Freedom & Justice Studies, and Philosophy at the California State University system’s newest campus, Channel Islands (in Camarillo), has been involved in queer choral movement for almost 30 years and has dedicated her research, writing, service, and community work to creating greater equity for all. Balén's home is in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Praise For A Queerly Joyful Noise: Choral Musicking for Social Justice…
"I have spent many hours pondering how it is that our work as LGBTQ choruses impacts social change. Julia's book made me laugh and cry but most importantly informs our ongoing efforts to enhance our effectiveness at creating social change through the power of music."
— Robin L. Godfrey
“Balén’s book sweeps you into the life of LGBTQ choral music. As a conductor in the GALA network for 30 years, it is a joy to see it so beautifully described in this important book. Balén is able to take the reader on a beautiful journey and educate us all along the path. Every person – gay or straight – who loves music should read this book.”
— Dr. Timothy Seelig
"Balén accurately unwraps our shared queer choral musiking with vision and depth while also tracing our connections to other contemporary movements for social justice and equality. In addition, she is able to capture familiar choral issues, events, rehearsals, and performance experiences with humor and aha moments. Wonderfully readable and well researched. Enthusiastically recommended."
— Dr. Catherine Roma
“A unique and seminal study, A Queerly Joyful Noise: Choral Musicking for Social Justice is exceptionally informative and extraordinarily well written. An important and primary work of original scholarship.”
— Midwest Book Review
"Balén give[s] special weight to women’s and mixed choruses, which have often been neglected in this discussion....If you happen to be thinking about forming an LGBT chorus in your town, it might serve you well to study Balén’s treatise for useful direction."
— People's World
"Cultural Singing as Personal and Political," by Julia 'Jules' Balen
— Gay & Lesbian Review
A Queerly Joyful Noise chosen as Choice "Outstanding Academic Title 2018"
— Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2018