On L.A.’s skid row, a “Messiah” for and with homeless population

Posted on: December 11, 2017

Immediately after the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Friday concert at Disney Hall, “a number of the players immediately took off their concert dress, donned Street Symphony T-shirts and headed to skid row,” writes Mark Swed in Monday’s (12/11) Los Angeles Times. “The Midnight Mission hosted its third annual ‘Messiah Project.’ This is the inspiration of L.A. Phil violinist Vijay Gupta, who founded the Street Symphony to bring a high level of music and music training to skid row shelters and to prisons. For the ‘Messiah Project,’ the Street Symphony and … members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale … [and] members of the skid row community … come together for selections from Handel’s ‘Messiah.’ … The anguish is real and inescapable—but is what makes the joy real, too…. A bass player, Benjamin Shirley, whose life fell apart through substance abuse and who spent two years homeless … is now the Street Symphony’s first composer fellow, and the program included the premiere of his ‘We Need Darkness to See the Stars,’ written for the occasion. ‘It is never too late,’ a bass, Brian Palmer, said, having overcome heroin addiction. He then compellingly sang the ‘Messiah’ aria ‘The People Who Walked in Darkness.’ ”

Posted December 11, 2017