Old South Church in Boston will host the Boston premiere of Street Requiem on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, at 7 p.m., as well as several events leading up to the premiere. Please see the following letter from Harry Lyn Huff, Minister of Music, Old South Church in Boston, outlining these upcoming events:
I am writing now to apprise you of an important event which will take place in the Sanctuary of Old South Church on Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 at 7 pm – the Boston premiere of Street Requiem. This is a 50-minute work written in 2014 by Jonathon Welch, Andy Payne and Kathleen McGuire to memorialize the many who have died on the street. (Coincidentally, just this past brutally cold January, a man we only know of as “Michael” died on the Old South Portico.)
The intention of the work, “as well as remembering street deaths, is to challenge the audience to do something about their situation, whether it is for those who are forced to live on the streets or in regard to society’s general attitudes to violence.” The work is deeply moving, yet essentially optimistic and uplifting, utilizing gospel, Celtic, neo-romantic, neo-Baroque, Indigenous and contemporary genres and instrumentation. The texts include English, African and Persian lyrics alongside the traditional Latin Requiem texts. Some of the English lyrics have been contributed by un-housed people.
Jonathon Welch is an amazing human being in Melbourne, Australia, who has been working with the homeless through the arts for the past 15 years. He established one of the first “street choirs” in the world, formerly called the “Choir of Hard Knocks”. That venture was so successful that there have since been street choirs established throughout Australia, and now increasingly in the US. Jonathon not only leads the choir in concerts, but he has worked with them to develop full theater pieces from the ground up – so he works in an interdisciplinary way, using all the arts to help rehabilitate those down on their luck. There is a fantastic award-winning documentary of Jonathon’s work entitled Beyond Hard Knocks.
Jonathon is bringing over 120 singers from his Australian “Sing the World” Choir to join with the 40-voice Old South Choir for the Boston premiere of Street Requiem. He will be in Boston for a few days prior to the concert, so on Sunday, September 18th there will be a number of events free and open to the public related to the concert:
(1) 10 am – Mary Norton Hall – Jonathon Welch and Andy Payne, the co-creators of Street Requiem will be on hand to discuss their work, with an opportunity for Q & A. This will be presented in the context of our newly-launched Capital Campaign, as one possible focus for Old South’s future outreach to the homeless.
(2) 11 am – Sanctuary – During Festival Worship the Old South Choir will perform three of the movements from Street Requiem.
(3) 12:30 pm – Mary Norton Hall – A screening of the documentary film Beyond Hard Knocks.
The concert on Tuesday the 20th will be free and open to the public as well; however, an offering will be taken to benefit the various homeless ministries at Old South.
One very important component of every performance of Street Requiem is the establishment of street choirs in each city where it is performed. In addition to the many street choirs currently in Australia, there are now successful street choirs in San Francisco and Dallas, and soon in Detroit and Chicago. The marvelous dream here is to likewise launch a Boston street choir!
Please mark your calendars and save the dates for these two exciting events – Sunday, September 18th and Tuesday, September 20th. And please help spread the word to any and all who you think might be interested in this important work.
In God’s love,
Harry Lyn Huff, Minister of Music, Old South Church in Boston
We encourage you to share this opportunity with your networks. Thank you for your assistance!