There are approximately 3,900 homeless people living on the streets of Dallas, Texas according to the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance’s 2016 count. That number represents a 24% increase over 2015. These statistics frame the magnitude of the problem, but the challenge of addressing it has as many solutions as there are homeless people. In an effort to create change, Jonathan Palant, a highly esteemed choral conductor in the area, undauntedly founded the Dallas Street Choir in October 2014.
“The Dallas Street Choir strives to offer an otherwise marginalized community of people a place to experience art, and specifically choral music. Our members come from all walks of life: 68% stay in shelters while 23% live on the streets; nearly half are in their forties and fifties; two-thirds have high school diplomas, and 64% are African American. Thus the tagline for the Dallas Street Choir is Homeless, Not Voiceless. Our model demonstrates that participation in a consistent, structured, safe, and creatively engaging environment better equips individuals experiencing homelessness to find a job, housing and improve their overall lifestyle. For our members, we aim to provide: practical musicianship training; an environment that promotes accountability; and a community that offers compassion and hope.” -Website
In 2015, the choir created a music video that captures the humanity of some of the 3,900 and gives voice to their struggles. (See below) The Dallas Street Choir is changing the face of homelessness in Dallas and using choral music to create community in the face of formidable odds. If you live near New York City, mark your calendars for their June 14, 2017 performance in Carnegie Hall!