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Alamo City Street Choir to perform this weekend — finding shelter in song

Tracy Powers with Alamo City Street Choir
still frame from video provided by Tracy Powers
Tracy Powers with Alamo City Street Choir

A choir made up of unsheltered San Antonians will raise their voice in song this Sunday. Director Tracy Powers said the singers are going through life experiences that most in the population never have.

“It is a choir made up of folks experiencing homelessness. And also, we have a few folks that just want to sing in it who are housed,” Powers said. “So it's a nice collaboration of both.”

Powers directs the singers at The Alamo City Street Choir. The first priority for most people who are unsheltered is finding food and safety. But Powers said that even people going through what they’re going through crave something additional: artistic outlet.


“But the artistic element is almost as important, maybe more so because of the uplifting nature of music,” she said.

The Alamo City Street Choir is an outreach of the San Antonio Chamber Choir. Powers noted that getting people with these folks’ challenges to let go and sing isn’t easy.

“I think most folks that live on the street, their trust of others is very low,” she said. “If there is a common denominator, it would probably be trauma in all these folks. And so trust is a hard thing for them to capture.”

They gather at Travis Park Churchto make heavenly, and other sounds.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Arts & Culture News Desk including The Guillermo Nicolas & Jim Foster Art Fund, Patricia Pratchett, and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation.

“We sing pop music, spirituals, musicals, folk, country. Just about everything,” Powers said.

H-E-B underwrites part of the expenses and provides $5 gift cards to each person who comes to sing. Powers said one of the singers was quite moved when given one.

“And she lowered her head and started sobbing,” Powers said. “It kind of breaks me up, I’m sorry. And I said ‘Are you okay?’ and she said ‘No one's ever given me anything this nice.’”

The choir is singing to the public on Sunday, May 15 at 2 p.m. at Travis Park Church.

“So this includes Travis park church choir and youth led by Carolyn Collins. We have professional instrumentalists, including some singers,” she said.

While there’s no specific admittance fee, donations will be taken at the door.


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Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii