Collective Joy: The Spirituality of the Community Big Band Wonderbrass

Rob Smith, Hannah O'Mahoney, Stephen B. Roberts*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Wonderbrass is a community music band that performs professionally. This article—written by three members of the band—uses collaborative/conversational autoethnography to explore the significance of the band through the lens of spirituality. After a brief overview of the history and ethos of the band, the autoethnographic methodology is discussed with particular attention to its significance for the investigation of music and spirituality. The rest of the article uses this methodology to explore the authors’ relationships, first to religion and spirituality, and then to their shared experience of Wonderbrass through the period of lockdown and subsequent emergence from that period. Through the conversational autoethnographic writing of the authors and analysis of emerging themes, the band is identified as supporting a spirituality that we identify as collective joy, experienced through fun, connection, and joy as sources of happiness, wellbeing, and flourishing.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1099
Number of pages17
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2023


  • collaborative autoethnography
  • spirituality
  • collective joy
  • lockdown
  • community music


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