Cherie Blair paid a lightening visit to the annual meeting for supporters of the Passage centre for the homeless, held in Westminster Hall last night. Director Sr Ellen Flynn DC, and assistant director Andrew Hollingsworth presented brief reports of the past year's events and future plans. But the evening was made exceptional by a mini-performance/workshop from Streetwise Opera - a professional theatre company whose members are all homeless. They started out with some very tuneful harmonies and rhythms but within a few minutes had succeeded in getting the entire audience of around 200 people to join in. Singer-songwriter Blue, then gave a very touching solo performance of one of his own compositions about life on the streets. There was hardly a dry eye in the house as the show drew to a close with a wonderfully harmonised rendition of Danny Boy - several members of the company took a turn and Sr Ellen stepped up also to join them - revealing a lovely voice too. After the meeting in the hall the evening continued with a buffet at the Passage. Streetwise Opera has been involved with a number of homeless projects around the country. They run courses of about 12 weeks, in aspects of the performing arts - each leading to a professional performance. In May this year they were involved with the first ever staging of Benjamin Britten's Canticles, at Westminster Abbey with participants from five London homeless centres and the professional opera company Tete a Tete. They are currently working on four new schemes in Nottingham, Oxford Watford and London. For more information visit their website: www.streetwiseopera.org The Passage reports another very busy and productive year. The largest homeless project in London, it welcomes over 350 clients to the centre each day, offering an ever-growing range of services and support. If you would like to find out more about their work, make a donation or volunteer on one of their projects visit: www.passage.org.uk
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