Queenscliff town hall reverberated with song and applause for 65 singers under the direction of Dr Jonathon Welch AM, best known as the Founding Music Director of the inspirational Choir of Hard Knocks, Sydney Street Choir, Australian Pop Choir, Pop Kidz and now THE CHO!R.
Jonathon’s innovative choral arrangements cover a range of musical styles from popular and classical to world music and musical theatre fused together with fun movement and ‘choralography’.
Songs from all eras like ‘The Storm is Passing Over’ was sung by slaves in the USA cotton fields whose songs were messages passed in code through song. Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’, Bon Jovi. The Righteous Brothers ‘Unchained Melody’ was a beautiful, sensitive rendition utilising soft or soaring voices and the audience loved it.
Joining the 45 members of THE CHO!R on stage were around 20 members of the local Tides of Welcome choir who participated in morning workshops and performances. The sound of the massed choir reverberated around the town hall with just the keyboard player accompanying them. They finished the program with ‘So happy together’ and they were.
Jonathon informed the audience about the upcoming Geelong Mountain to Mouth Festival stating he felt honoured to be creating music using local Aboriginal language – a song cycle to celebrate the Waddawurrung people’s place in Australian history and culture for over 60,000 years.
Play It Forward
Originally launched in 2012 as the School of Hard Knocks programs, Play It Forward combines professional music industry and community arts practitioners and disciplines, together with the health, education, research, welfare, volunteer, government and corporate sectors, to deliver a unique range of diverse, inclusive arts programs and events nationally.
This is Jonathon’s vision and legacy for the future of inclusive arts programs.
His groundbreaking social justice work, combined with decades of professional arts experience, knowledge and passion for music, has inspired him to look beyond his original ‘street choir’ concept inviting Australians of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the nation’s mainstream cultural life.
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ~ Plato.