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Texas high schoolers and homeless community find a perfect harmony

The Bishop Lynch High School choir has been singing with the Dallas Street Choir for nearly two years.

DALLAS — When you’re homeless, you hear everything.

“I’ve had times where I’ve turned around and there’s a whole group of people just laughing at me,” said Jason Turner, who lost his job more than 10 years ago and has been homeless ever since.

Turner said recently, though, there’s one sound that’s risen above: the Bishop Lynch High School choir.

For decades, the Bishop Lynch choir has performed at a high level. Not long ago, however, director Kathy Leos came up with a plan to achieve something greater. She got the idea after learning about a choir in Dallas whose members are all homeless.

The Dallas Street Choir rehearses every Wednesday.

“We are giving a new face to Dallas’ homeless community,” said street choir director Doctor Jonathan Palant. “We are the voice of the street community.”

Palant said many homeless people have hopes and dreams. People like Turner, whose dream is to go to college to be a counselor, and a voice, for the homeless population.

Of course, the choir at Bishop Lynch knew nothing about any of that. In fact, most of Mrs. Leos’ students had never even met a homeless person. That’s why, a couple of years ago, she proposed a collaboration.

The two choirs now get together regularly to sing. The students often bring gifts and supplies the street choir members may need.

In return, they’ve been given perspective.

“Their homelessness is not who they are,” said senior Lucia Colindres.

“They’re human,” junior Adam Guerra said. “They matter.”

“They are loving, they are kind, they are giving,” Palant said. “They just want to be heard and seen and supported like anyone else.”

Some of the kids have even started coming on their own because they say they’ve formed a connection that’s almost unexplainable.

“It reaches a part of the human soul that you can’t reach unless you work with people,” said Colindres.

“That sometimes is all that’s needed to recognize the humanity in someone else,” Leos said.

Singers in the street choir are so used to being ignored, the fact that someone listens to them is music to their ears.

“It gives me joy and it makes my heart smile,” said street choir singer Amos Williams. “It really does.”

“It was just like a sense of joy that we were able to share,” said Bishop Lynch freshman Isabelle Reidy.

“That is the sound of hearts unlocking and joining together,” Leos said.

Everyone makes assumptions, but hearing that is more than enough reason to join in unison.

For more information on the Dallas Street Choir, visit https://dallasstreetchoir.org/.

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