As the name implies, The Legendary Mighty O’Town Passions are a musical force to be reckoned with. More than a performing group, they are a musical ministry for good. They take their uplifting songs to the streets, to the stage and to the shelters – as they did for Bread & Roses Presents on February 16, 2017.
The residents at Crossroads East Oakland Community Project, a homeless shelter for diverse adults, slowly filled the room as the group started singing. They were weary from their day and might have preferred to go to sleep rather than to a mandatory Life Skills meeting. They were quite pleasantly surprised to see four dapperly dressed gentlemen and to hear some great old school and new tunes.
Songs like La La Means I Love You brought back sweet memories for the older residents while original tunes like Not the Father, which was a hit single, appealed to the younger members of the audience. As the evening went on, people swayed in their seats, sang along and some even danced. Everyone was happy to be there – transported from their lives in a shelter to a different place and time.
People made comments like, “Sing that song!” “Uh huh!” and “Don’t stop now!” At one point baritone Jimmy called out, “Hey my brother!” A man in the middle of the room holding a cane nodded and smiled. Many people were moved both by the music as well as the men singing it.
At the end of the show the man with the cane came up to the band to thank them. Jimmy took his hand, and they looked at each other as if to say, “It’s been too long.” It was soon clear that they were actual brothers being reunited. Neither of them had any idea they would see each other this evening. It was through music that these two were brought together again. Perhaps music will be the bridge that keeps them united.
Post by Carolyn Gauthier
Photos by Peter Merts