By Stephanie Hale
The Starlight Hotel Choir is a community choir set up in Fremantle to create an environment where anyone, regardless of musical talent, can come to express themselves and be part of a community.
What started off as a simple sing-a-long has become a choir with up to 35 members at any given rehearsal.
Highly respected local musicians Peter Anthony and Dave Johnson direct the choir, which is run by St. Patrick’s Community Support Centre.
St. Patrick’s Community Support Centre is a not-for-profit organisation that works to provide care for the homeless, those at risk of being homeless and the disadvantaged in the Fremantle area.
They strive to provide a non-judgmental, understanding and caring environment that promotes self-worth.
The choir is made up of those who use St. Pat’s facilities as well as members of the wider community.
Many of the choir members have experienced homelessness, hardship and mental health issues at some stage in their lives.
Peter Anthony is passionate about music and believes the choir is able to help some of the people who use St. Pat’s facilities.
“Singing can be a very therapeutic thing,” he said.
That statement has proven to be true for choir member Louise.
“I used to suffer from anxiety when I was around people but now I take the lead in the choir,” she said.
“St. Pat’s have supported me with my health and now I have more self-esteem,” she added.
In addition to singing cover songs the group also writes their own songs during workshops with Mr Anthony on Tuesdays.
“I love the composing, we do a few collaborations and get the whole group together,” he said.
The choir gives back to their community by performing at an aged-care facility once a week.
The Starlight Hotel Choir is named after the ‘Hotel of Stars,’ which many homeless people sleep under.
Listen to the Starlight Hotel Choir perform their version of ‘Moon River’: