On a mild autumn night in Perth, Aglow joined in with other churches and community groups to take part in an ambitious performance for an ambitious project.
The University of Western Australia (UWA)’s Centre for Social Impact has launched a campaign with the aim of ending homelessness in Western Australia by 2028. To launch this campaign, the UWA Conservatorium of Music organised around 1,000 performers to line the walkways of the perth CBD to perform Gavin Bryars' "Jesus' Blood Never Failed Me Yet", a 1971 composition based around a loop of an unknown homeless man singing.
A recording of the unnamed homeless man singing “Jesus’ blood never failed me yet” played on a loop through a large speaker mounted on a purpose-built trolley, which weaved through the streets of Perth's CBD. The performance culminated at Forest Place, in a combined performance by the WA Symphony Orchestra, the UWA orchestra and community choir groups.
This was the first time Gavin Bryars, the composer of the original score, gave permission for the music to be performed outside of a concert hall. We knew this was a God moment and we had to take part. God found people with the heart to unite as one.
Aglow in WA formed a community choir for the event, as we sang a harmony line to accompany the main recording. Around 40 churches, charity groups and church bands also joined in.
Around 20 Aglow women and men from various Aglow branches in and around the Perth region joined in the production, and were awestruck by the significance of the event. The performance builds in voices and sounds, then the music fades until all that can be heard is the recording of the homeless man singing alone. Having 1,000 people standing in silence in the Perth city, hearing the voice of the one homeless man singing of the power of the blood of Jesus, was an incredible event.
Recordings of the night can be found on the End Homelessness WA Facebook page.