The SOCAN Foundation/ MusCan Awards for Writings on Canadian Music are two $2500 prizes intended to encourage students’ research and writing on Canadian music topics and music professors’ mentorship of students in these endeavors. One prize is for the best English-language paper and one for the best French-language paper. Topics in Canadian music will be understood as potentially deriving from a wide range of genres, including, but not limited to, such areas as concert, folk, jazz, and popular music.

All of the winning papers may be found by following the links below. A summary of all previous winners may be found by following this link.

The Canadian University Music Society gratefully acknowledges the generous financial support of the SOCAN Foundation in the awarding of these prizes.

Muriel Smith (University of York, UK), "Singing in ‘the Peg’: Anglo-Canadian and Mennonite choral exchanges in Winnipeg, Manitoba (1920 - 1960)"

For nearly a century, choral singing has and continues to be a defining characteristic of Winnipeg’s high art culture. Between the 1920s and 1960s, two demographic minorities strongly identified choral singing as a cultural marker. On one hand, the politically and economically dominant Anglo-Canadian (British- heritage) society enabled the dissemination of English choral culture in their community. On the other hand, the immigrant, ethno-religious group of German and Russian speaking Mennonites, where choral singing had long been central to their rural way of living, re-signified the activity as an expression of their new urban identity. Each group was striving to achieve choral excellence within their own cultural ideals and boundaries. Occasionally their worlds intersected. This paper investigates the musical exchanges between these communities, and considers the outcomes, shaped in part by societal changes, that resulted in a shift in the balance of power. Mennonites began to attain prominence in city choirs that had once been dominated by Anglo-Canadians. This discourse also provides an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the relevance of Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital and Michel Foucault’s theory of power. Methodology included the reading of previous research (Berg (1985, 1988), Keiller (2006), Klassen (1995) Letkemann (1985, 2007), Schellenberg (1968), Richards (2001), Small (1998), Smith (2006), Stokes (1994),Tippet (1990), Titon (2004)), archival exploration of various choral groups, interviews with choristers and choral conductors, and the systematic searching and reading of memoirs, journals and local newspapers. This paper contributes to conversation about musical networks, places and spaces in urban Canadian centers.

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