The Choral Project, with soloists including Frederica von Stade, perform Street Requiem, a work written to focus more attention on the problem of homelessness, and what can be done to end it. A portion of the proceeds from the performances, in San Jose on Wednesday night, and Santa Cruz on Saturday, will benefit non-profits that work to help the homeless in those communities.
There’s more information about the performances at the website of The Choral Project.
The work was written by three Australian composers, including Kathleen McGuire, conductor laureate of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, and founder of the SF homeless choir Singers of the Street. The Choral Project music director Daniel Hughes says Street Requiem begins like a Requiem mass. “It follows some of the template, but it very strategically pulls away from the traditional liturgy, also because the composers wanted the piece to feel extremely universal. So that anybody coming to a performance of it would feel like it’s speaking to them.” The text includes directly addressing the audience about the problem. “Ubi Caritas: Where there is charity and love, there is God,” Hughes explains. “It’s handled ironically, in that it’s the voice of a person on the street actually confronting a stranger, the audience, about what does it mean to be charitable. It actually says: “Why do you avoid my gaze, or pretend I’m not there when you’re leaving the concert hall?” It actually says that in there.” Frederica von Stade has sung the work several times, including in the Bay Area, Dallas, and New York’s Carnegie Hall. “So I was thrilled to be asked to do it again, I really love it. I think it’s a very meaningful, very easily accessible work, and I feel it is a desperately important subject for all of us to deal with.”