The 'Choir Of Hard Knocks' was easily one of the best TV shows of the year. Compassionate, vastly entertaining, dramatic, deeply touching and utterly Australian, it followed the progress of a group of homeless men and women who had found new life, new friends and new hope by forming a choir, and playing sold out shows at the Sydney Opera House and the Melbourne Town Hall.
The Choir Of Hard Knocks is now one of the true success stories of Australian music in 2007. They regularly sell out venues that chart toppers and Australian Idol winners could only dream of filling, and have reminded people that becoming homeless is sometimes only a handful of tragedies and unfortunate events away from a once prosperous life.
The Choir has now sealed its year of excellent success with their album going platinum and scoring the ARIA Award for best soundtrack.
If you get the chance to see The Choir perform, make sure you go. They don't want your pity, or your coins, they just want your applause. And they'll earn it.
Anytime some idiot tells you that the ABC must be privatized, remind them of 'The Choir Of Hard Knocks'. Do you really think a commercial television network would screen a weekly documentary series about homeless and mentally ill people, some literally from the gutter, some with alcohol and drug dependencies, getting together and forming a choir? Of course they wouldn't. And no commercial network would have done such a great job in producing such a compassionate and inspiring show.
The singers of the Choir Of Hard Knocks have well earned their ARIA, and their success.
They should have picked up an award for Album Cover Design :
Battered cardboard. Brilliant.
More here :
"The choir is changing people's lives dramatically, and people who have been really down and out have now got a chance to express themselves and be part of a community that is doing remarkable things."
For choir member Annie Saunders it was another reason to celebrate on her 62nd birthday.
"It's hard work and it keeps me young," Ms Saunders said.
"They have all sung happy birthday and I've got some gifts so it's a wonderful day for me.
"We never thought anything when we first started, we were just happy to sing, and it's amazing how it's progressed and we're beginning to be quite famous."
It's wonderful to see what people can do when others are willing to ditch the easy criticism and give them a go.
You can buy a copy of the now platinum selling Choir Of Hard Knocks CD and DVD here. And check out the beautiful t-shirts, designed by a member of the choir.
The Choir Of Hard Knocks receives no government funding, so go buy something and show your support.
Here's a list of their upcoming live shows.
An excellent background story on the Choir can be found here.