1 of 3
Jae C. Hong, AP
In this Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015 photo, Homeless people and volunteers line dance at karaoke night the Central City Community Church of the Nazarene on Skid Row in Los Angeles. As people harmonize on Beatles songs, they begin to lock out the ugliness outside, where a misdirected look can launch a knife fight in a second. Where across 50 square blocks on the edge of City Hall and other landmarks that represent the rich and powerful the streets reek with the smell of urine. Where some 1,700 people bed down on filthy sidewalks every night. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

In an area of Los Angeles known for its high rates of violence and homelessness, laughter and joy is hard to come by.

But one church is trying to change that. The Central City Community Church of the Nazarene is offering those experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles a chance to sing karaoke and perform for each other, the Associated Press reported.

Pastor Tony Stallworth, who always wanted to be a musician, but felt called to uplift a congregation through music instead, started the karaoke night about 17 years ago. The event now draws crowds from the Los Angeles’ Skid Row area known for its large transient population.

While the singers are not always the most skilled, the event always creates a lively atmosphere that distracts the homeless performers from the difficulties they are facing, the head of Skid Row’s Union Rescue Mission Andy Bates told the AP.

“It’s a bit of a return to normalcy in an area that’s just absolute chaos,” Bates said. “People kind of lose themselves in that moment and get to display their talents,” he added.

Check out the video below to see what a typical karaoke night on Skid Row looks like:

Shelby Slade is a writer for Deseret News National. Email: [email protected], Twitter: shelbygslade.