The 2016 Graduate Student Prize
The student paper prize committee, consisting of Robin Wallace, Felicia Sandler, and Cathy Elias, unanimously awards this year’s prize for best student presentation at the SCSM annual meeting to Braxton Shelley’s “Tuning Up: Towards a Gospel Aesthetic.” Shelley’s paper presents a topic that is fresh and interesting to a wide audience, musicians and beyond. Through a close reading of video recordings of a sermon and a gospel song, the author illustrates nicely the interplay between preaching practice, rhetoric, and musical gestures. The paper is engaging, informative, and well researched, yet fits nicely into the format of a conference presentation. Shelley breaks new ground in his understanding of “tuning up” as a collective cultural experience. We look forward eagerly to reading more of his work on this subject.