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Amy Houck
WHRO Public Media
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WHRO Public Media debuting City Voices in conjunction with National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Norfolk, VA – Prior to its national release, WHRO Public Media will air City Voices: Homelessness to Hopefulness on WHRO TV 15 on November 18 at 8 p.m.   The documentary follows members of the Norfolk Street Choir, a choral group founded in 2016 by Robert Shoup, Chorus Master & Conductor of the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.  The Norfolk Street Choir is comprised of Hampton Roads residents affected by homelessness.

WHRO producers followed the choir through their first season, and then followed some of the choir members for two years.   “To know that you represent possibly the only chance that these people will ever have to tell their rich stories, and show their value as human beings to the masses, there is a lot of responsibility in that,” said WHRO Producer Kenny Hopkins.

This film gives a voice to the voiceless while showing how a powerful art form, like singing in a choir, can provide a sense of community and optimism to a very vulnerable population.   Every Friday morning the group gathers at Freemason Baptist Church for breakfast and a choir session under Shoup’s tutelage.  With each rehearsal members attend, they earn rewards like bus passes, sweatshirts or gift cards--but for many members there are benefits that go beyond these tangible items.

“There’s a saying that music can change the world because it can change people,” explains Bert Schmidt, President and CEO of WHRO Public Media.  “That saying really sums up City Voices and we couldn’t be more proud to share this story.”

The documentary “City Voices” will air on WHRO TV 15 on November 18 at 8 p.m. Visit City Voices Countdown Website to learn more.

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About WHRO Public Media: Since its founding in 1961 to support education, WHRO Public Media has employed creativity and technology to serve the residents of Eastern Virginia in its mission to educate, inform and entertain viewers and listeners of WHRO’s four public television and six public radio stations. Owned by 21 southeastern Virginia school divisions, WHRO Public Media also delivers online educational and new media services to 286,000 students and 25,000 educators per month. To learn more, visit www.whro.org.