Wazza’s voice breaks when he talks about what the Sydney Street Choir means to him, but it stays strong, clear and powerful when he sings.
Like many of his fellow choir members, he finds solace in expressing emotion through song and a new joy in coming together for rehearsals and performing to live audiences as a group.
“It gives you a sense of belonging, knowing there is someone there that you can reach out to,” Wazza explains. He delights in reconnecting with others, post COVID lockdowns, now that meeting up to see each other is possible again and this has added much valued social outings to his calendar. For Wazza, being part of the choir has brought new people into his life and new experiences taking him to places he’s never been before.
“I’ve a got a lot more outlook in life and I take it wherever I go,” he said. “There are times when you don’t feel very well, or you couldn’t be bothered, but you still drag yourself along. They make you feel like a rockstar! Look at all the beautiful people in the audience, it gives you recognition, enjoyment and companionship with people in the choir.”
Another rockstar in the Sydney Street Choir is Hillary who was initially shy about joining because she wasn’t at all confident she could sing. However, she soon discovered the joy and passion of singing and that no one is going to judge how well you perform. “It doesn’t matter how bad or good you sing, everyone’s just having a fun time,” she said. Hillary has also found an importance sense of belonging with her new friends. “I belong to these people, I belong in this choir. You have something to look forward and to just see them all again and to have a chat and just to be with them.”
Leonie Oaks, Sydney Street Choir Social Worker is proud to advocate on behalf of choir members like Wazza and Hillary although she is the first to point out what strong advocates they are for themselves. It certainly takes a lot of guts to sing in public and new singers often surprise themselves with this newfound passion and confidence.
“They come in saying they don’t know how to sing but they find a voice,” Leonie said. “The level of knowledge and kindness and compassion in the choir is extraordinary, it always blows me away.”