Each week, an inclusive community choir practices in a church hall in Perth. Members of Spirit of the Streets include those who are unemployed, homeless, living with mental-health issues, their carers and those who are retired from paid work. It’s an eclectic mix of people who are usually socially disadvantaged, but when they come together and sing, it’s clear that they love music and express themselves with joy!
St Albans in Highgate provides the venue for the community choir to meet and practice.
Looking through the window of the hall, I can see Devo already warming up his guitar.
Joanne sits just inside the entrance of the hall and offers name-tags to all participants.
As well as featuring some original music written by the choristers, the songbooks contain an eclectic mix of folk and contemporary songs by musicians such as Lennon, McCartney, Clapton, Lennox and U2.
Anna stays at the back of the hall and cheerfully makes cups of tea and offers slices of home-made goodies and a friendly chat.
Ken opens the meeting with some announcements. The main choir leader is on holidays, so someone new will be leading the music today.
David introduces himself by singing several of his own compositions before leading us in group song.
By the time Sally leads us in a Maori shanty, we're all standing and swaying to the beat.
I heard about this community choir from my mother who often volunteers at St Albans, and I was welcomed very warmly when I turned up at the practice today. It was a joy to be part of this group — singing with others provides a great sense of belonging, lifts the spirits and sets smiles on all our faces!
Spirit of the Streets will next be performing in concert at Bethanie Waters Lifestyle Village on August 21 at 2pm.