Song and singing traditions at children's summer camps

Posen, I. Sheldon (1974) Song and singing traditions at children's summer camps. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Children’s summer camps have been little studied by folklorists, thought the camps exhibit many of the characteristics of “classic” folk groups, and their members have shared a body of songs, among other lore, which have been passed from generation to generation of camp people. This thesis argues that the songs and singing at summer camps comprise bona fide folk traditions, and describes in some detail the nature and function of the traditions within camp culture. The thesis is based on fieldwork carried out at camps in Ontario and Newfoundland, interviews with camp people, official camp literature, and the writer’s extensive experience at summer camps. -- Summer camps are organized by adults for the purposeful recreation of children. As such, camp culture operates on at least two levels, the official level, at which goals are set by camp authorities for the campers, and practices instituted for the fulfilment of those goals; and the unofficial level, at which the campers strive to achieve their own goals. The structure is similar to that of a religious group, and the terms “liturgical” and “lay” can be substituted for “official” and “unofficial.” -- Camp provides traditional contexts for singing at both the liturgical and lay levels. The singing is usually carried out by more than three persons, such that it is pertinent to speak of camp songs in terms of “group singing” and “group repertoire.” The level at which singing takes place in any situation is indicated by the behaviour of the group in initiating the singing and selecting the songs, and defined according to the functions served by the singing. Singing often reflects the concerns of lay and liturgical groups and may point to areas of social or psychological stress or accord within camp culture. -- Singing has long been a practice at the liturgical level at summer camps. Repertoires and singing practices at modern camps show the combined influences of the singing traditions at recreation and leftist camps during the first half of the century. Since about the 1950’s camp singing traditions have been influenced with increasing intensity, and in turn been influenced by, the commercial folksong revival. Nonetheless traditional repertoires and singing practices have been retained at many camps.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7306
Item ID: 7306
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 195-202, 213-216. Discography: leaves 203-212.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 1974
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Camps; Camping--Songs and music

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