Homeless shelter transforms for monthly jazz concerts

A homeless shelter on Lancaster Avenue transforms into a jazz concert cafe on the fourth Thursday of every month. Todd Unger has the story.

FORT WORTH - By day, the DRC Shelter in Fort Worth serves the needs of hundreds of folks without a home who are trying to get back on their feet.

But by night, once a month, the day shelter transforms into something very different. It’s worth the listen, and the scene.

As darkness falls on Lancaster Avenue -- if you catch the right night -- you'll barely hear it.

But step inside and you will hear it. You’ll feel it, too.

On the fourth Thursday of every month, for an hour and half, up to 100 folks down on their luck get a front row seat at the Cypress Street Cafe.

"Lord have mercy, boy I tell ya' something,” said James Earl Jones, a jazz enthusiast.

"The man on the saxophone is fantastic,” he said. The lead vocalist “sounds like an incredible singer with a heart of God,” he added.

The Marine Corps veteran left the service in 1985. He's simply trying to get by in 2016.

"It's been up and down,” Jones said. “I've been working in an oil field in Odessa, up on the east coast."


But the monthly performance lifts him up. It lifts everyone up.

"[It] helps a lot of people,” he said.

A quick meal, a warm place to sit -- or even dance -- it's all part of a plan to spread a little love for music to the street.

"These people have no where they can go to listen to music,” said Jennifer Martin, a singer who also organizes the monthly jazz concerts. “We all go out to bars restaurants and so forth."

This month, it was Gale and Mario Cruz volunteering their time. Performers get as much out of it as the audience.

"The musicians want to come back over and over again,” Martin said.

With a crowd like the one that showed up Thursday night, it’s easy to see why. Simply put, there isn't another venue like the Cypress when it's Thursday night on Lancaster.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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