Friday, May 22, 2009

Choir of Hard Knocks, - New NAME

Media release
For immediate distribution
Thursday May 21st 2009


After an 8 week long nation wide search for a new name, the Choir created by Jonathon Welch along with many of the original members of the Choir formerly known as the Choir of Hard Knocks will now be known as the Choir of Hope & Inspiration.

“With over 8,000 hits on our website and hundreds of suggestions for our new name from all over Australia and as far as the USA, the common theme and sentiment that emerged for the Choir’s new name, along with the messages of support for the Choir members, was the sense of hope and inspiration the Choir Members have brought through their singing, given the amazing journey from their hard knocks beginning two and a half years ago” said Jonathon Welch, the Founding Music Director of the ARIA, Logie and Helpmann award winning Choir.

“I’m very proud of the Choir’s achievements and fully support their move to independence. Their new name,
Choir of Hope & Inspiration, is exactly what this Choir represents to so many Australians” said Jimmy Barnes, the Choir’s Patron since their humble beginnings in September 2006.

Originally formed in September 2006 by Jonathon Welch as the Choir of Hard Knocks for the ABC documentary of the same name, the story of 52 people with a range of disabilities including mental illness, physical and intellectual disability, brain acquired injury, depression, schizophrenia, drug and alcohol addiction and some experiencing homelessness came together one spring day at Central Hall in Fitzroy and went onto become an extraordinary musical phenomenon, reshaping how every Australian would think about the issues facing those we see experiencing disadvantage, forever.

Against the odds, the Choir went on to win a Logie for the Most Outstanding Factual Documentary, an ARIA Award for the Best Soundtrack from a Television program and a Helpmann Award for the Most Outstanding Special Event at the Sydney Opera in 2007, the Choir went onto perform in over 80 concerts at Parliament House, Canberra for the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Sydney Myer Music Bowl for Carols by Candlelight, the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) for the AFL Dream Team match, Hamer Hall with Kate Ceberano for the Melbourne International Jazz Festival and has been featured on Sixty Minutes , Mornings with Kerri-Anne, and has also received ARIA Platinum and Gold records for their first two CD’s.

“The journey for the Choir members themselves was more than just an amazing musical transformation though.
As they gained a sense of confidence, self esteem and pride through their involvement with the Choir many of the members returned to part time or fulltime study or work and have remained in close contact as an “alumni” and constant supporters as the Choir has kept singing” said Welch.

“But even more important than the music and singing for the Choir still today is the sense of community and belonging that the Choir members have found through coming together each week socially, and the Choir today is a “family”, albeit a musical one, bonded through their experiences and the pride and joy they share as they continue to give their magnificent voices to the world, bringing a positive “voice” to their Community, where they had been a silent and overlooked minority” Welch said.

Today, still with the committed and unswerving vision and passion of their Musical Director, Australian of the Year, 2008 Local Hero Dr Jonathon Welch, the journey of independence for the Choir from their early hard knocks beginnings to becoming what the public now believes they truly represent, the Choir of Hope & Inspiration along with the second Choir that is also a training troupe, the Choir of Pride & Joy of 70 plus singers, continue to rehearse every week and perform regularly throughout Victoria with plans to tour Australia, striving for what they have always dreamed and worked tirelessly to achieve with the support of an amazing staff and volunteer team of 30 choir “angels” – to change lives through their singing and be the best choir that they can be.

Although they have a wonderful new name, the Choir of Hope & Inspiration is looking for sponsors and donations to help them keep singing, along with anyone wanting to book the Choir to sing or join the Choir can contact them now at

For media enquiries regarding the launch and interviews contact: Di Rolle Publicity
0419 001 068 or
The Melbourne Street Choir Inc.
Organization Number: A0052669X ABN Number: 494 0599 2446

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