Cast your minds back to January, when the weather was warm and ‘social distancing’ wasn’t part of our vocabulary just yet. We were stringing up the last of the fairy lights and doing the final sound check as the first guests started to arrive for the inaugural Servants Community Housing January Jazz evening. Families and neighbours congregated in the Carrical carpark and spread out their picnic rugs and chairs, ready to enjoy an evening of music, good food and community.
Polly and the Bluebottles kicked off the night. Think: young, fun and oh so talented. They are a local band and their covers were a hit with the growing crowd. We had heard many wonderful things about our headline act, Steve Waddell’s Creole Bells Revival Group featuring Beverley Sheehan (…and not just from Bev!) The toe-tapping, singing, humming and clapping from the crowd certainly showed appreciation for such a tight, impressive group of performers. We were incredibly lucky to have this world-renowned group of musicians play at January Jazz.
Long-time supporters from the North Balwyn Rotary Club were a well-oiled machine, who together served up a delicious BBQ. Goods were generously donated by local grocer The Common Good, Cannings Free Range Butchers and supporters from our community. Our sweet tooths were satisfied by non-profit Crepes for Change, an enterprise that works hard to provide funds and raise awareness about youth homelessness. We are so grateful that we were supported by local clubs and businesses that are also passionate about caring for and celebrating vulnerable people in our local community, and would like to extend our deepest thanks for their contributions to such a fantastic evening.
And while food and music are always a great reason to get together as neighbours and friends, we wanted to remind our local community of the important work Servants Community Housing does on a day-to-day basis, namely housing people at risk of homelessness. Hearing stories from past, current and new residents did this perfectly. Marcus, Phil and Andrew shared honestly about their lives, and we were all given a unique insight into the complexity and vulnerability of people facing housing insecurity in Melbourne. Repeated by all three men was the importance of having a safe home encased in community, a home they found with Servants. And then, in case there was a risk of things getting too heavy on a Thursday night, Phil gave us an almighty display of bird calls.
Given the success of the night, and the amount of times we were asked, ‘So, you are doing this again next year, right?’, we will definitely be thinking about a similar event for 2021!