The streets of Perth will come alive on Friday evening when up to 1000 singers and musicians gather to harness the power of music and raise awareness of homelessness in Western Australia.
The UWA Conservatorium of Music will present ‘Love Never Failed Us Yet’, a large-scale community event featuring a performance of a 1971 composition by Gavin Bryars, which loops audio of an unknown homeless man singing a hymn.
The performance features WASO, the Spirit of the Streets Choir and a number of schools and community ensembles stationed throughout Hay and Murray Street Malls. The event will also launch WA Alliance to End Homelessness’s #EndHomelessnessWA campaign.
According to latest estimates, each night more than 9,000 people are homeless in WA with many sleeping on the streets, in their cars, in temporary accommodation, or relying on the goodwill of family and friends for a couch or spare bed.
Professor Alan Lourens, Head of the UWA Conservatorium of Music, said music is a powerful tool to create awareness and transform our society.
“We are proud to be supporting the WA Alliance to End Homelessness in their campaign to end homelessness,” Professor Lourens said.
“By bringing together a large cross-section of our community in music making, we are giving a voice to this really important issue.”
The event will amplify Bryars’ looped composition called Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet, on a large slow-moving trolley that the audience will follow to a final destination in Forrest Place.
Ensembles will join with the looped voice and fade in and out as the trolley passes.
At the end of the journey, the ensembles will form a mass choir, accompanied by the UWA Symphony Orchestra and will create a collective united voice of solidarity for people experiencing homelessness in WA.
Bernard Carney, Musical Director Spirit of the Streets Choir and St John of God Community Choir, said the choirs love collaborations with other groups and being involved in a bigger picture, especially to start a journey to end homelessness.
“The Spirit of the Streets started 11 years ago with sellers of the Big Issue in Perth as a way of helping marginalised people have a voice in the community through music and singing. It has become more than a choir, it’s a support group and a family to its many members who have neither,” Mr Carney said.
“We are so pleased to be involved in an event like “Love Never Failed Us Yet” with other like-minded community groups. We applaud this initiative and look forward to participating. The choir has done several concert hall performances but has never yet sung with a symphony orchestra. They are excited!”
"Love Never Failed Us Yet" is a family event on Friday April 13 at 6pm on the west end of the Hay Street Mall.