What an amazing week I've just had. After lunching with friends on Saturday afternoon, at a house on Sydney's northern beaches with views from a flat roof that stretch north through the central coast, and south down past the Sydney airport, east into the Tasman sea, and West to the Blue Mountains, a large part of Sunday was spent at the Sydney Opera House.
The Choir of Hard Knocks a Melbourne choir of homeless and disadvantaged Men and Women have recently been the subject of a television seriesover a period of 5 weeks, and the shows national success has been phenominal, thanks to the people involved, the Musical Director Jonathon Welch, and the myriad of support staff who have made a road hard travelled, that much safer for an incredible group of people. The series was produced for Australia's national broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, or ABC for short.
The choir's formation was the inspiration of Jonathon Welch, and made possible by RecLinkan organisation created to provide recreational facilities for those who wouldn't normally expect to have so many or varied recreational opportunities. The Choir of Hard Knocks had been formed, following the formation in Sydney, by JW, of the Sydney Street Choir which Mr Welch was inspired to form, after reading about Accueil Bonneau, (translation) the Montreal Homeless Mens Choir, in a Reader's Digest article about 5 years ago. There was subsequently an Australian Reader's Digest Article about the Sydney Street Choir a few years ago.
Following the success of the series (it was truly one of those events where everyone talks about the show - even on buses, I heard people speaking about it), and the sale of 630,000 CDs, an opportunity arose for a concert performance at the Sydney Opera House. 2700 tickets (a full house) for a concert on Tuesday 17 Jul 2007, were sold out within 36 hours of going on sale, so two additional concerts were held the previous Sunday, at 2.30pm and 6pm. Sunday's performances were in the Opera Theatre, and Tuesday's was in the larger Concert Hall.
In its short lifetime the Choir of Hard Knocks has made friends with choirs as diverse as Sydney Gay & Lesbian Choir, Randwck Philharmonic Choir, the Sydney Street Choir, Door in the Wall, the Sydney Pop Choir, and the Melbourne Gay & Lesbian Chorale, and about 100 singers from these choirs joined approximately 30 of the Choir of Hard Knocks (COHN) for a 4 song finale, after the COHN had performed on stage in a concert which lasted about one and a half hours. Then it was time to party in a heated marquee overlooking Sydney Harbour. A truly memorable and amazing experience.