Resounding Achord is kicking off our 6th season with something that might feel different from the concerts of the past five seasons. This past February at the Western Division conference of the American Choral Directors Association, I was fortunate to hear a performance by Los Angeles’ Urban Voices Project. The Urban Voices Project’s Skid Row Choir brings the healing power of music directly to individuals disenfranchised by homelessness both inside and outside the neighborhood of Skid Row.
Their performance offered a stark contrast to the professional and collegiate level choirs that I heard that weekend. While their sound might not have been musically perfect, it was the most joyful presentation of the entire event. The interest session that followed after the concert brought me to tears. Individuals from the choir told their stories, and it brought a face and a reality to the crisis that I hadn’t experienced before. Leeav Sofer, Urban Voices’ Artistic Director, challenged everyone in attendance to go out into their communities and make a difference. He even went so far as to say that if we thought that homelessness wasn’t an issue in our communities, we were kidding ourselves! Of course, anyone living in San Jose today knows that homelessness exists, and it is a real and urgent matter.
I decided to bring Mr. Sofer’s challenge directly to our community at Resounding Achord. This inspired our program for our fall concert, “Take Me Home,” which features music centered on home, shelter, and community. Our next challenge was to decide where the concert would be held. There was something that spoke to us about having the concert as close as possible to many of the people we were trying to help, which led us to Grace Baptist Church in the heart of Downtown San Jose. Jan Clayton, Resounding Achord’s Executive Director, and I had the pleasure of meeting with pastor Liliana Da Valle and her staff at Grace, and she explained to us that at her church, they refer to the homeless as “houseless” because they will always have a home at Grace. I love this sentiment, and so we found our concert home at Grace, too.
All of the proceeds from the concert will be given to support the houseless ministry at Grace through the Winter Faith Collaborative, a Santa Clara County movement of faith communities, and the Village House Interfaith Shelter of Hope, a shelter for medically fragile women in Santa Clara County. I know we aren’t going to solve the houseless crisis with just one concert, but the community of Resounding Achord and I feel like if we can make a difference for even a small group it is worth every effort.
Additionally, we wanted the concert to be completely inclusive and allow people from all walks of life to attend, perhaps even coming in from off the street. There won’t be traditional tickets sold for this event either, but concertgoers are encouraged to reserve their seats in advance. Admission is free, and attendees are encouraged to make a donation to support the houseless as they are able. Donations of lightly used or new socks will also be collected at the event.
I hope you will join us, I hope you will be inspired, and I hope you will be changed, just as I have been.
If you’d like to learn more about Urban Voices, you can visit their website at http://urbanvoicesproject.org, or watch this inspiring clip: Today Show Video.
Join us for “Take Me Home,” Sunday, October 28, at 3pm at Grace Baptist Church in San Jose. To reserve your seat for this special concert, please visit our Event Page.