Sydney Street Choir celebrates 20 years of transforming lives
Since 2001, the Sydney Street Choir has been helping transform the lives of those experiencing hardship, isolation, and homelessness through the joy of music and performance.
Now in its 20th year, the Choir is celebrating its impressive two-decade milestone with a special Anniversary Concert in the heart of the city.
The concert was held at Martin Place last Wednesday, March 16 from 12pm with up to 50 choir members performing songs of joy and inspiration. The event was freely live streamed nationally, with donations to the Sydney Street Choir Foundation strongly encouraged.
The choir now supports more than 100 members a week across three choirs, including the first women’s prison choir, and forms a unique bridge to social services, which can be accessed in a safe and supportive environment.
Under the expert leadership of a professional choir director and qualified social worker, Sydney Street Choir members build trust and resilience, while finding community and friendship.
The idea for the Sydney Street Choir emerged when renowned singer and conductor Jonathon Welch AM first heard about the Montreal Homeless Men’s Choir and inspired, decided to bring the concept to Australia.
“When we first started out, we held a group brainstorm to come up with a name for the choir. The people we spoke to identified with the street as their ‘home’, and so the Sydney ‘Street’ Choir was born,” Welch said.
“We all need something to wake up for in the morning and be excited about. The Sydney Street Choir gives people who are living rough the chance to share a meal, to chat, and to develop friendships.
“For people experiencing hardship, it can be transformative, with the positive benefits flowing into all other aspects of their lives. Many choir members have even gone on to become social workers, or to work in the music industry.
“More than music, the Choir gives members a safe space and a sense of belonging, identity and respect.”
Director James Paul said that with ongoing financial support, the Choir can continue to transform lives through helping members to access to vital social services and housing assistance, food packages and other essential items.
“We rely on donations to maintain and grow the life-changing services we provide to our community. With our goal to spread the joy of the Sydney Street Choir for the next 20 years and beyond, ongoing financial support is absolutely crucial,” Paul said.