LA Weekly: A Performance of Handel's Messiah in a Homeless Shelter Brings Hope to Skid Row

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LA Weekly reporter Katie Bain writes about the 2016 Messiah Project.

It’s a December afternoon on Skid Row. Rows of sagging tents line San Pedro Street and the blocks beyond, as the thousands of people who call this neighborhood home stake their territories. Many sleep right on the sidewalk. Men and women push shopping carts filled with empty plastic bottles. The air is rich with the smell of urine. The holiday spirit so abundant in other parts of the city is negated here by the brutal realities of daily life.

In a building at the corner of San Pedro and Sixth, however, a choir raises its collective voice in a chorus of “hallelujahs,” filling the gym of the Midnight Mission with a blast of sublime sound.

This performance is part of the Messiah Project, Skid Row’s most glorious holiday pageant. Now in its second year, the Project brings together professional musicians and singers from groups including the L.A. Philharmonic and the Colburn School to perform in collaboration with Skid Row organizations and community members.

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Featured image credit: Hso Hkam