Spirit of Streets Choir

Street Choir header

Begun in 2015, the purpose of this program is to form a choral group comprised of street-involved and at-risk youth (clients of Ottawa Innercity Ministries and other youth-service organizations in Ottawa) who rehearse weekly in order to ultimately participate in the Kiwanis Music Festival. Led by a choral director, the youth learn how to read music, manage their voices, work effectively as a team, and more.

Music performance teaches young people to conquer fear and to take safe risks. Healthy and safe risk-taking is essential if a young person is to fully develop his or her potential. Music contributes to mental health and can help prevent risky behavior such as teenage drug abuse, which often leads to institutionalization. The research behind this shows that the study of music leads to greater self-esteem, self-confidence and empathy for others. It teaches patience, discipline and dedication as well as how to work collaboratively as part of a team.

Students of the arts learn to think creatively and to solve problems by imagining various solutions – there is no one right answer in music. Given that the majority of street-involved youth are already “out of the box” thinkers, we feel strongly that this type of program will suit them very well and so should be very successful.

The choir rehearses once a week under the direction of the Choir Director, Richard Hardy. The repertoire is mix of music chosen by the group including sacred, classical and popular music. Each rehearsal includes a time of fellowship including a small meal. The main goal is  to participate in the Kiwanis Music Festival under the Community Choirs category each spring. We anticipate that, with proper publicity and lots of practice, the Choir will also be asked to perform for community events.

We are deeply grateful to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Community Foundation of Ottawa for providing us with the necessary funding that started this project in 2015.  We are also very thankful to the Leacross Foundation for providing us with financial support for the past two years.  We appreciate the support of The Well/La Source for providing dinner after each rehearsal and the Parish of St John the Evangelist Anglican Church for graciously sharing their space with us each week.

For more information contact Kim Chadsey, Executive Director | 613.818.4664 cell | kim@okmf.ca

For more information about Ottawa Innercity Ministries, click here.