The Maybelle Center for Community in Old Town/Downtown Portland believes that no one deserves to live in isolation. They have been building community and relationships with individuals for 25 years. “Maybelle Center for Community is doing something unusual and powerful. We are creating connection and community for people that have been isolated and ignored by society. Each year, we assist nearly 500 people, helping them to connect to the community and care that helps them live better lives.”
Last year, the Center hired a choir director and piano accompanist when they created the Maybelle Community Singers as a way to use choral music to create community and a sense of belonging. Choir members joined the choir for fifteen weeks at the end of which they gave a performance at the Center’s summer open house. “Vince Irelan is one of the Maybelle members. He describes himself as transgender pre-op. ‘That makes it very difficult in this world. I have to come home to all this loneliness. I'm kind of cast out by my own circumstance,’ said Vince. ‘It's the place I call home. Where people call me family,’ said Vince.” The choir is now preparing for its next concert.