Monday, January 14, 2013

Veterans Choir shares their experience with students

Change is possible.

Members of the New Directions Veterans Choir perform at St. Peter Claver
Catholic School. From left, Danny Tucker, Bobby Hanna,
George Hill, John Hill and Carleton Griffin.
That was the message George Hill wanted to get across as he spoke to students at St. Peter Claver Catholic School.

A member of the New Directions Veterans Choir, Hill performed and spoke to the students at the school as part of a Patel Conservatory Community outreach.

The choir is comprised of men and women who have served in the U.S. military. In addition to their military service, the members of the New Directions Veterans Choir share something else in common. When they returned home following their service, each of them became homeless.

The name of their a cappella singing group was inspired by the New Directions program for homeless veterans in Los Angeles, said Hill, the group’s founder.

“The program helps you get camaraderie and structure back in your life,” said Hill. “After coming from such an unstructured journey, I needed that structure.”

Hill formed the choir more than 14 years ago along with other members from the program, which helped them get their lives back on track.

Now he enjoys bringing that message, that change is possible and they are living proof, to veterans, homeless, students and audiences throughout the country.

The choir has performed for NBC's America's Got Talent and have been featured on the NBC Nightly News and E!.

They performed at the Straz Center over the weekend, and performed for some of our Patel Conservatory community partners, including St. Peter Claver, Metropolitan Ministries and the Bay Pines Veterans Hospital.

“More than singing together, we’re friends,” said Hill, referring to fellow choir members at the outreach event at St. Peter Claver.

The group sang their rendition of Lean on Me as a reminder that there is help available for people who need it.

Whether you find a friend, a teacher or a family member, Hill said to the students, “Don’t go through your problems alone.”

Thanks to the members of New Directions Veterans Choir for sharing their story and their talents with our community partners!

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