The Choir of Hard Knocks and a Geelong singer
Travelling to the airport the other night to put Peceli on the plane to Fiji, the radio was playing Leonard Cohen’s ‘Alleluia’, one of my favourite songs. It wasn’t a soloist but by a choir. ‘That sounds like the Choir of Hard Knocks,’ I said, and yes it was.
A Geelong operatic singer, Jonathon Welch, was inspired to form a choir of homeless men and women after reading about the Homeless Men’s Choir in Montreal. He did not have auditions but found people through charities, the streets, the shelters, the soup kitchens of Melbourne. He started the singing group nine months ago. A television series is currently showing in Australia on the story of this choir and now they have made a CD.
The choir's patron, a man no stranger to hard knocks, is Australian rock legend, Jimmy Barnes, and Reclink has given them funding.
Jonathan said, ‘I can’t drive around Melbourne now without looking at it very differently. The streets are, for a lot of people, home. You don’t see it as much in Geelong, but you probably don’t have to scratch the surface too hard to find it.’ He said the most profound change in the singers is a sense of belonging and pride and the group has become like a family.
Their website gives more information.