Cold weather can be a life-or-death situation for homeless people if they remain outside for too long.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Matthew Woitunski)
Classical groups are always looking for ways to bring their music to new audiences. A Boston nonprofit called Shelter Music Boston works to bring classical to the city's homeless population. This year, the nonprofit gave its 100th performance for one of the city's most vulnerable populations.

Earlier this month, WBUR tagged along at one of the group's holiday performances and documented the audience's reaction to a program that mixed music from Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" with seasonal tunes like "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas":

Many of the women seem entranced as the musicians play. Some close their eyes and sway their heads. Others simply smile while watching intently. One women sits straight up in her seat, holds her hands high, and simulates conducting. When each piece ends, the room erupts in cheers and applause. And, since it’s the Christmas season, the concert ends with the shelter residents singing along to holiday classics.

One Pine Street Inn resident, Jen, who doesn’t want to give her last name, describes the concert as transporting, even if temporarily.

“It’s beautiful music. It just — it took me away, you know?” she says. “Away from my problems. Music does that. And it’s a shame that once it’s over everything’s back to normal again.”

Check out the full story, including photos and audio from the performance.