Harmony, Hope & Healing (HHH) has partnered with organizations from Santa Fe, Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Baltimore, San Diego, Richmond, Norfolk, and Indianapolis to create the first national collective of directors and leaders using music and choir programming to serve families and individuals experiencing homelessness.
“It was nice to know we aren’t alone in this work,” said Tina Villapando, Director of Programming for HHH.
The choir directors from across the country began to connect through the phone, and decided to arrange an in-person meeting. Dr. Jonathan Palant, founder and director of the Dallas Street Choir, organized the gathering in Dallas this month. In the first meeting, the group shared ideas and support for one another, enjoyed a Dallas Street Choir rehearsal, and discussed a study led by the School of Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington called “The Effects of Communal Singing on Those Experiencing Homelessness.”
All of the organizations represented at the first meeting are at various stages – some just starting out, and others have been around for more than 5 years. HHH has been serving Chicago for 15 years.
“Everyone was humble,” said Marge Nykaza, the Executive Director of HHH. “Let’s learn from each other, and celebrate. Let’s help bring music to our cities and country in this time of angst and fear.”
The choirs have a variety of approaches for serving those experiencing homelessness. Some are faith-based, others are professional choirs, and others function as a social service organization. These groups represent a true example of a Small Forces ripple effect; individuals using what they know best to make a difference in their communities.
The coalition will soon be establishing their goals and mission statement with the hope that other choirs will join.