The Street Requiem was composed as a memorial for all who have died on the streets, including those who are homeless. Anchored in the structure of the traditional Requiem Mass, it utilizes a variety of indigenous and contemporary genres and instrumentations reflecting the multicultural and multi-faith traditions of modern cities.
This August 25, 2018 performance was sponsored by the Berkeley Community Chorus and Orchestra (Arlene Sagan Memorial Fund), First Church Berkeley, the Berkeley Women’s Community Chorus, and St. Alban’s Episcopal Church (Ina Lawrence Fund). It involved 79 singers drawn from nine San Francisco Bay Area choruses, soloists Brian Thorsett and Molly Mahoney, 22 musicians, and Music Director Derek Tam.
Originally composed and performed in Australia, it was adapted for California audiences with an opening acknowledgment and dedication to the local Ohlone nation. The performance included a reading of the names and circumstances of death of some of the homeless men and women who have died on the streets of Berkeley and other East Bay communities.
Over 500 people attended the free East Bay premier performance, which raised over $14,000 in donations for the Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center (WDDC), Berkeley’s first daytime program for homeless women and children, offering respite from life on the streets.
As mezzo soprano soloist Molly Mahoney wrote, “Looking out into the crowd, I saw how moving this was for the community….Homelessness is such a multi-faceted issue, and having a work of art to come together with to help secure funds for the WDDC led to a feeling of hope and connection in a world which needs that more than ever.”