Tonight was the first-ever rehearsal of the Springfield Street Choir, and it surpassed all of our expectations. We walked into the room not knowing who would show up, if we’d have enough people, if we’d have too many people, if anyone would care at all. And everything worked out exactly right. We had seventeen singers choose to join us for an hour of singing and community.
We started raising money for this project exactly one month ago today, in the hopes that we’d maybe be able to have enough funding to start after the first of the year. And here we are tonight, with a real, actual choir filled with real, actual people.
Our singers tonight ranged in age from 34 to 64, with about two women for every man in attendance. Tonight our singers are sleeping in shelters, in a van, on a porch, at campsites, at the homes of friends and family, and in some cases, their own place. (Anyone who is currently or formerly homeless, or who is experiencing extreme deprivation is welcome to join; we are not about to kick someone out of the choir just because they acquired housing!) And at the end of the rehearsal, true to our word, we gave everyone who had participated either two bus passes or a crisp $2 bill — and the satisfaction of knowing they had earned it.
We began our hour-long rehearsal just making noise together, learning to follow simple conducting, and beginning to earn trust with the singers. We worked on three songs tonight, two that everyone already knew (“Let It Be” and “Lean On Me”) to build confidence, and then started learning “Angel Down” by Lady Gaga to round out the rehearsal. And they did great. See for yourself!