The Spirit of the Streets
24 Nov 2008
The Spirit of the Streets Choir performed alongside the Perth Male Voice Choir and the Working Voices Choir in a concert, aimed at filling the hearts and coffers of The Big Issue organisation’.
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To celebrate International Mental Health week, The Spirit of the Streets Choir ñ comprised of people often regarded as the forgotten section of society ñ performed alongside the Perth Male Voice Choir and the Working Voices Choir. The concert, aimed at filling the hearts and coffers of The Big Issue organisation’, united 100 voices in song and was described by some as the biggest charity event ever to take place in the city of Perth’s Concert Hall’. Project Manager, Ken Steele explains.
How do I sum up the final chapter in this epic journey which has been some twelve months in the making? The word magic’ is hardly sufficient to encompass the scope of what has been achieved. A final weekend of rehearsals had followed weeks of television appearances, radio and print media interviews and public presentations ñ each one appearing to flow seamlessly into the next.
Will the tickets sell? Are they buying just out of charity and will they turn up on the night? These and a million other questions arose continually to keep us on our toes. We need not have worried: even the Concert Hall’s upper gallery had to be opened to cope with the last minute demand for tickets… and everyone came.
The night ran without a glitch, thanks to a wonderful production team, under the talented producer Rachel Moorhead, her voluntary assistant Nunzio Giunta and some marvellous volunteers from the Actuarial Faculty at Curtin University.
What a reception! What an audience! They clapped and cheered, whistled and shouted for more. We gave the performance of a lifetime and left with a truck full of memories to treasure for ever.
The concert’s aim was to raise awareness to the sort of disadvantages that the Spirit of the Streets Choir represent. The performers did just this, collectively and harmoniously. Theirs is the true triumph of the evening. Under the guidance of musical director Bernard Carney, all the choirs sang like true professionals and created a bond with the audience, which was true magic’. No other words will do.
The choristers gained 2,000 converts ñ clearly moved, the audience came to view the singers and their situations in a whole new light, acknowledging them as the true battlers of society with the biggest and most generous of hearts. In material terms they might have nothing but in the depth of their human spirit, they are rich and enriching beyond measure.
The Big Issue is sold exclusively on the streets by the homeless and long-term unemployed. Selling it offers vendors a modest but vital income, boosting confidence and self-esteem. The concert has helped to raise further awareness of the importance of the magazine, which has increased its readership in Australia by 10,000 in the past year. In addition, the choir has brought a ray of light into the lives of many ñ a way to communicate and a forum for socialising, which has never been possible before.
Spirit of the Streets Choir
Photo: © The Echo Newspaper
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