Tonight we sang at the Union Gospel Mission in St Paul. We’ve been there may be as many as 6 times now, and each time it is a different experience. This night we were invited to eat with the residents – otherwise homeless people, almost exclusively men. We don’t do that often, and it was a nice opportunity to meet with the folks we’d be singing for in a new way. We split ourselves up and found seats at the cafeteria tables randomly – some of the guys we sat with were very open and talkative, others reserved, but it was a nice way to start the event. And the food was really good! Scalloped Potatoes with Ham, green beans, salad, and donuts!
The concert itself was lots of fun. It was just our fourth gig with our newest members, Scott and Todd, and having new guys in the group give me a reminder of what it was like 20 years ago when we started out. There’s an extra excitement that I enjoy, and I hope comes out in our music.
After the show, as always, we shook hands with the audience. The long-term residents of the Union Gospel Mission, they can stay up to two years, have to find and keep work. A fellow named Christan Carruthers (yes, there’s only one “i” in Christan) came up and chatted – he is a piano teacher for Schmitt Music in Roseville (651-636-0801) looking for students. He sat down and played piano for us as we packed up our equipment, and is a good player and a very nice guy.
If you’re not a long-term resident, the evenings at Union Gospel Mission end with roll-call, and the names that get called get a bed for the night. The chapel room we sing in used to be single purpose, but for the last few years has become filled with cots, stacked up at the side of the room until after the concert. The need for shelter, food and healthcare is growing, and the Union Gospel Mission is a wonderful service organization helping fill those needs. I’m glad we are able to help support them in their ministry through our music.