On a rainy day in late October, The Coffeehouse Project’s Promise Band (minus Dave who was unable to join us that day) had the privilege of going out with members of Stanley Congregational Church and the Chatham High School Key Club on a food run organized by Bridges Outreach of Summit. The Promise Band made music for and with people on the streets of Newark while they received hot soup, cocoa, packed lunches and more from the other volunteers.
Quick set-ups and take-downs allowed for the caravan to make three stops in the downtown area. Next to Newark Penn Station Ricky sang with John on his requested A Horse With No Name. At the Martin Luther King Blvd. stop Danny and Duke provided beautiful vocal additions to I’ll Fly Away and some young men were able to experience playing our guitars. We had the folks at the YMCA dancing along when we were joined by Stanley’s Pastor Bernie on Blue Suede Shoes. Lucy Malatesta, the Stanley member who organized participation for this particular food run, was very pleased to have the musical addition, “[It was] so cool to have The Coffeehouse Project Inc. with us today. I love that Becca reached out to me and that she knew I would think it was a great idea! I don’t know what else to say except that I‘m still full of positive energy. Who’d a thought that a miserable day would turn into such a beautiful one?”
The Promise Band was created last spring to bring music and music making to families served by Family Promise of Morris County, a non-sectarian, not-for-profit organization dedicated to ending the crisis of homelessness faced by Morris County families. We rehearse weekly at Stanley Congregational Church and travel to Morris County locations about once a month during our sessions. We were excited to expand our work to the streets of Newark and found the experience to be even more rewarding than anticipated. We never know exactly what interactions will be created, but we know that music makes everyone just a little bit happier and it’s always a delight to watch that unfold in new ways.