Being Terry Crew’s buzzer is no easy feat and that too on the premiere of America’s Got Talent but Voice of Our City will steal your heart, not just with their performance but with their mission. The choir of mostly under-the-poverty-line San Diegans was America’s Got Talent’s first season 15 Golden Buzzer.
In Susan Polis Schutz’s interviews with 14 homeless members of Voices of Our City Choir, shared their stories; from women who have been abused and used to those battling addiction, to people who just can’t afford housing, to people who need medical care. They talk about their backgrounds, why they are homeless, the inhumanity of homelessness, their hopes and dreams, and what each think the solutions to the homeless problem might be.
While singing inspirational songs such as “Over the Rainbow,” their voices soar, and the harsh realities of the street evaporate.
What is Voice Of Our City All About?
They help San Diego’s unsheltered neighbors reconnect with hope and possibility through the healing power of music, individualized and intensive case management and advocacy. They have helped over 50 people move from homelessness and into housing in 3 years.
Four years ago, after their first public concert, singers on the original 17-member Voices of Our City Choir were ticketed for sleeping on the street. One went to jail.
How Does Terry Crews’ Golden Buzzer Help The Homeless?
Voices of Our City gives their members options to work with our Case Managers and Peer Support Specialists (individuals who have lived experience of homelessness). They connected struggling people with the resources from PTSD, a lifetime of traumas, abuses, financial hardship, as well as health and/or addiction issues.
Voices of Our City founder Steph Johnson, a jazz singer-guitarist, says AGT producers saw the group online and contacted her.
But she wasn’t immediately convinced, “I had some reservations about a reality TV show, right?” she said.
“What we do with the choir is so real — we’re literally trying to save lives every day. I didn’t want to fluff it up or lose our authenticity.”