For Jonathan Marsden, the Sydney Street Choir is a big part of his life.

Choir member Jonathan Marsden says it was wonderful to re-unite with friends.

It is the link that keeps isolation at bay.

Singing in the choir is uplifting, and the camaraderie is critical to Jonathan’s quality of life and mental health.

COVID-19 has been particularly hard on the vulnerable in our community.

The smile on the faces of the choir members as they assembled for their first in-person rehearsal underlined how much it means to them.

“Covid has been tough,’’ Jonathan said.

“I was getting really worn out by the end of it.

“During the last two weeks, everyone was saying there is light at the end of the tunnel with the opening up.

“So, I just kept hanging on, keeping an idea that things would improve.’’

Jonathan is a much-loved member of the Sydney Street Choir, joining five years ago.

Jonathan caught up with other members via Zoom but said it was not the same.

He could see that some of his choir members were struggling with the isolation of the pandemic.

“There is a lot of people who don’t get the help they need immediately, and terrible things happen to them,’’ Jonathan said.

The PACYE Foundation funds a support worker who assists choir members who need assistance.

With COVID-19 lockdown restrictions eased, the choir was able to catch up for a rehearsal with a busy Christmas singing season ahead.

“It is wonderful to be back with everybody today,’’ Jonathan said.

“It is a bit funny, isn’t it when the world is shut down; it feels a bit strange when the doors are back open.

“It is all about reacquainting yourself with socializing.’’

Jonathan said the therapy of singing and the characters broke down barriers and isolation for members.

“What I have learnt with the choir is that it’s important to talk to everyone and not say no to anyone,’’ he said.