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By Christine Layton

It takes a particular type of person to dedicate their life to the happiness of others.

We see it in many different shapes and forms but Dr Jonathon Welch AM has mastered it in the musical sense.

Dr Welch is the man behind The Choir of Hard Knocks.

Now it would take far too long to detail where he’s studied, performed, conducted and lectured and Google can answer that but there’s one thing you can’t search — what is he like as a person?

That, we I can tell you. He is just as compassionate, kind, inclusive and patient as you’d expect.

Choir Of Hard Knocks rehearsing their jazz repertoire at St Philips Church,Abbotsford.

In 2001, Dr Welch rallied Sydney’s homeless to start the Sydney Street Choir and, in 2006, was asked to recreate this very model in Melbourne for an ABC TV series.

There were no auditions — everyone was welcome.

Members were invited by word-of-mouth through various community organisations and within a few months the choir was 50-strong.

Podcast: Jonathan Welch with Christine on Live on Drive

10 years ago, every one of them was a castaway, an addict, mentally ill, homeless, or hopeless.

Now this group of men and women have come together under the leadership of the former Opera Australia principal, who has transformed a disparate bunch of people into a bona fide choir.

They’ve since performed at Melbourne Town Hall and the Sydney Opera House. Next stop is Perth!

 

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