The Sydney Street Choir celebrated its 20th anniversary on Wednesday March 16 with a special concert in Martin Place.
The two-hour performance was spirited and joy filled. The sun shone through the rainclouds. There was laughter, camaraderie, even dancing in puddles.
The choir’s set list includes familiar hits – “Let It Be”, “I Can See Clearly Now” and “This Little Light of Mine”. Choristers commit to bringing beloved songs to life.
“We haven’t had much opportunity to perform in recent years due to the pandemic,” said choir director James Paul. “We slipped in a show at Christmas, but overall the opportunities have been scarce. The choir absolutely loved performing again and we were able to raise some funds at the same time.”
Established in 2001 by Jonathan Welch AO, the choir keeps a busy rehearsal and performance schedule, with a live-to-air performance on Channel 10’s Studio 10 on April 5, and a tour to Brisbane later in the month.
The choir runs rehearsals at three locations – Redfern, Liverpool and the Dillwynia Women’s Prison, with over 100 members participating every week.
Matthew McLennan was very happy to perform at Martin Place. “I’ve only been a member for a few months,” he smiled. “But I was on the promotional banners!”
Mr McLennan said he loves the opportunity to sing with others. “It’s not always easy, what we all go through. Singing together is good for the soul. It’s a healing experience.”
The choir’s social welfare support program helps members with issues such as housing, domestic violence, financial welfare or employment. It offers direct assistance, including counselling and individualised support, as well as referrals to other support services.
A defining legacy of the Sydney Street Choir’s work lies in the lives of its past members – choristers have gone on to work in social work, and in the live music industry, supporting themselves and building new, socially robust and meaningful lives.