I thought it delightful that ABC had scheduled (unknowingly of course) Choir Of Hard Knocks Opera House Special for the first day of the Rudd government.
Twelve months ago Jonathon Welch brought together a group of Melbourne’s disadvantaged to form a choir, but had no idea what a sensation the choir would become. Now the 42 members of the Choir of Hard Knocks have been invited to perform in the Opera House concert hall.
Taking such a disparate group on the road is a risky venture, and the stakes are high. It’s a real show of faith in the Choir, and nerve racking for the organisers. It’s a massive logistical operation given the varied emotional and physical needs of the choristers. For most, it will be their first time on a plane or their first trip interstate.
Following on from ABC TV’s inspirational series, this hour-long special shows the Choir of Hard Knocks as they prepare to travel to Sydney to sing on one of the world’s great stages. It’s an exciting and stressful experience for the choristers, and possibly overwhelming for some. But the Choir and the organisers are determined to make it a performance of a lifetime.
For Jonathon Welch, it’s a return to his home stage – the “office” as he calls it. As Principal Tenor with Opera Australia, the Opera House stage was his second home for many years. Now he returns with the Choir he founded last year to perform in front of a sell-out crowd in what will be a truly special performance.
The Choir of Hard Knocks has captured Australian hearts and resonated throughout the community. As the Choir celebrates its first birthday, the choristers share with us the changes the Choir of Hard Knocks has made to their lives. Their phenomenal success has boosted self-esteem but it’s not a magic fix. Along the way there have been stints in and out of rehab, family reunions, sell-out concerts, a Platinum album and an Aria Award!
The show resonated with everything we have embraced again since Saturday night. I call that “hope”.