The famous four-note theme of the Hallelujah chorus
resounds each holiday season, ushering in joy, festivity, and celebration. George Frederic Handel's beloved "Messiah" is a musical rite of the holidays, even 250 years after it was written.
Not everyone may know, however, that Handel also used his famous "Hallelujah" theme for the anthem of the London Foundling's Hospital
, the United Kingdom's first children's charity. In 1750, yearly benefit performances of the "Messiah" were installed at the Hospital under Handel's request, and often, patients and residents of the Hospital - orphan boys, many of them blind - joined the ranks of professional soloists and choristers.
The most beloved performances of "Messiah" during Handel's lifetime didn't take place in royal halls or grand cathedrals. If it weren't for the Foundling's Hospital, we may never know and love "The Messiah" today.
The chapel of the London's Foundling Hospital, the venue for regular charity performances of Messiah from 1750
Today, Skid Row is the epicenter of the homeless capital of the United States
. Recently declared as a state of emergency, 10,000-15,000 people may sleep on the streets of downtown Los Angeles on any given night.
The overwhelming number of people experiencing mental illnesses are preyed upon by open drug trade, but also face the revolving door of mass incarceration, as the de-facto treatment of mental illness is incarceration
Guitarists Brandon Bernstein and Howard Alden perform at LA County Jail.
These communities comprise the audiences of Street Symphony. In the course of the last 4 years, our distinguished musicians have presented nearly 180 free, live musical engagements with the Los Angeles community, presenting events in Skid Row, the greater Los Angeles Area, and the LA County Jails.
We bring jazz. We bring gypsy music. We bring the works of Schumann, Schubert and Mendelssohn. This December, we bring Handel to Skid Row, to lift up the powerful voices and stories of that community.
Street Symphony Chamber Singers perform a Bach Motet at Skid Row's Midnight Mission in July, 2015. From left to right: Vijay Gupta, Amy Fogerson, Jin-Shan Dai, Alice Kirwan Murray, Ed Levy, Jacob Braun, Scott Graff, Zach Dellinger, Daniel Chaney, Tim Gonzales.
Supported in part by a Local Impact grant from the California Arts Council
, Street Symphony will present a series of workshops at LA County Jails, Skid Row shelters, and LA permanent housing facilities, culminating in a sing-along performance of The Messiah at Skid Row's The Midnight Mission
Residents of the Skid Row community in our audience will be invited to participate in singing alongside the newly formed Street Symphony Chamber Singers
, comprised of members of the LA Master Chorale. We are also delighted to have partnered with the Urban Voices Project, a Skid Row singing project
, as well as the City of Angels Community Choirs.
Our organization relies on the support of donors like you. We need your help to match the $10,000 grant from the California Arts Council. Please donate to Street Symphony today.
Support great music for a community living in extreme poverty, but in no way impoverished in spirit. Donate to lift up their stories and their voices.
Support the themes of justice, redemption and healing in Handel's Messiah.
Join us, and bring music to our world.