Urban Voices Project brings the healing power of music directly to individuals disenfranchised by homelessness, mental health issues and unemployment. Community singing and music education combine to provide practical opportunities for individuals to transcend their current circumstances and participate in a creative program of positive change. Composed of artists and performers from the Skid Row neighborhood in Downtown Los Angeles, this project is presented by The Colburn School and John Wesley Health Centers (JWCH Institute) to bring music, health & well-being, and community to one of the largest homeless neighborhoods in the United States.
The Urban Voices Project: A Skid Row Choir serves as a “bridge” to the Wesley’s health and wellness services for our homeless. Through music education, musical workshops, and a performing ensemble, the Urban Voices Project continues to share music and its healing power with many individuals and audiences inside and outside the neighborhood of Skid Row.
Urban Voices was born when Wesley Health Clinic reached out to the Colburn School of Music seeking to start a street choir for the residents of Skid Row. Leeav agreed to take on the project, being teamed up with Christopher to recruit. Kate joined the team soon after, and within a few months, the group had grown from about 5 to over 20 members.
Leeav is currently on faculty at the Colburn School in Los Angeles where he teaches classes, directs choirs, and community engagement programs. He earned a performance degree in clarinet and voice from California State University of Long Beach and has performed at venues such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the Ford Amphitheatre, and the Staples Center. In addition to co-founding Los Angeles’ only current Jewish Youth Orchestra, he also leads the band Mostly Kosher, dedicated to preserving and progressing cultural folk music of the Judaic heritage for future generations.
Kate Richards Geller is a music therapist and vocal improviser who is well-known for keen listening, creating safety in a group, facilitating freedom within structure, and supporting personal expression. Kate earned a master’s degree in Music Therapy from NYU in 1997 and then combined her singer/songwriter skills and 'joie de vivre’ with clinical improvisation to enhance “quality of life” in medical settings, community centers, and therapeutic pre-schools. The core of her work engages people in interactive singing as a bridge to self-expression, communication, and community-building.
Christopher Mack is a staff member of Wesley Clinic and advocate for the homeless and disenfranchised.
Meriah Moffat is an associate conductor of the Angeles Chorale and is currently finishing her masters in Choral Conducting at Azusa Pacific University. She has conducted several choirs at middle schools, high schools, and communities in LA and Riverside county. She has helped the arts administration team at the Redlands Bowl and loves working with the team here at Urban Voices Project.