Saturday, 12 March 2016

Joy, Inspiration and another birthday

I've just came home from a very enjoyable evening at the amphitheater behind my local council of Canning. They presented a free evening of choir music featuring one of Australia's most inspiring choirs - The Choir of Hard Knocks - and their supporting acts : "Spooky Men of the West" and "Rossmoyne Community Singers".

The 3 choirs singing together at the end
It was two hours of fun, singing and dancing under the stars with a beautiful balmy night of 29C. 
All we had to do take some chairs and a picnic if we so wished, although there were a few food stalls set up as well.

First sang the all ladies choir of Rossmoyne (a local suburb) that just celebrated their 17th anniversary.

Then came "The Spooky men of the West" a Fremantle men's choir group that not only sang, but acted and made us laugh. They were brilliant!!
Just have a listen to this Youtube rendition of Abba's "Dancing queen" that they also sang tonight. (video below)

Spooky Men of the West singing Abba's Dancing Queen

Next came the "Choir of Hard Knocks" (At one stage called "Choir of Hope and Inspiration" was formed almost 10 years ago in September 2006.

Based on Montreal's homeless choir, the choir came to prominence in an ABC tv documentary presented in 2007. The conductor Jonathan Welch had already formed the "Sydney street choir" in 2001, and established this choir in Melbourne with homeless and disadvantaged people, through word of mouth. The choir has about 50 members.

They perform all over Australia, and have travelled to some overseas countries, although this was their first time in Perth.

They have a few sponsors like "Jetstar" who sponsors their travel, but subsist via sale of concert tickets, CD's, DVD's and other merchandise, as well as donations.

The choir has recently taken part in a film that will be shown around the world about their journey as homeless people to performers and the improvement this choir has made to their lives.

A very uplifting story and I'm so glad there are such amazing people in this world!
Who could imagine music would take people off the street, drugs and alcohol?
One of the members that sang a solo, had even published 3 poetry books!!

Jonathan Welch has other art and cultural projects - the "School of Hard Knocks " that teaches creative writing, drama, keyboard and drumming.

The Hard Knocks singing. Jonathan is the one with his back to the public

To end the evening, Jonathan thanked the audience who had been standing, applauding and dancing the last two songs that were performed with the 3 groups on stage.

We bought a CD before coming home happy and relaxed with the uplifting evening.

The stand selling their merchandise

Hope and Inspiration - The Choir of Hard Knocks (back then known as Choir of Hope and Inspiration)

Before I sign off I must congratulate my Dad on his 83rd birthday today (11th March), another Piscean in our family. 

Happy birthday Papa (daddy in Portuguese), may you have many more healthy and happy years ahead.
And to repeat the choir master's words : Keep calm and carry on singing!

                                                                    December 2015 

Top- with the older grandchildren in 2007, as a young man, recent one of Mom and Dad
                                 Bottom - My sisters and I (2012), Mom and Dad with the younger grandchildren (2012),
                                 Dad loves singing


  1. What a very happy post Sami.. it's so nice still to go out in the evenings, sounds like you had a brilliant evening.. happy birthday to your dad, it's a shame your parents couldn't have timed their visit so he could have had his birthday here.

    1. Thanks Grace. Although they are retired, my parents attend "Third age university" in Portugal and my Mom lectures there as well, so they had their commitments they couldn't miss...

    2. That´s wonderful! A great way to stay alert.

  2. What a nice and happy evening! Singing does lift up moods very easily, even more when the performers carry such beautiful stories.
    Happy Birthday to your Papa! I don't know when the "recent" photo was taken, but he surely looks to be far away from 83!

    1. Thanks Sara, I agree music is a wonderful link that unites all sorts of people. Just recently I saw a documentary about people with Alzheimers and others with Parkinson's and music, and when music was played to them they could recall all the lyrics and sing, and the Parkinson's patients could dance without shuffling their feet. How amazing!
      That photo is probably about 3 years old. I should have put one taken on their holiday here in December/January. But he does look very fit and younger than his age.

  3. Happy Birthday, to your Dad 83 years young.
    What a wonderful story for the Choir of Hard Knocks to go from being homeless to performing all over. As you say it's wonderful what music can do! Love your keep calm photo... here's one for you "keep calm and hope for a red car in the drive!!!"
    Have a lovely weekend.
    Wren x

    1. Thanks Wren, have a wonderful weekend too.
      As for the red husband prefers white!

  4. That must have been a great evening, so sweet those pictures of your dad, congratulations.

    1. Thanks Marianne, it was a very relaxing evening.
      I had fun compiling that collage, just couldn't make up my mind which photos to put there...

  5. Wow, bet that was an awesome evening, Sami! 29C, stars and such wonderful music! The piano is wonderful, too, so "deep and full"!
    Great idea with the homeless choir.
    Help can be so easy, huh?
    Hope to see the movie.
    And happy Birthday to your Papa (that´s German as well).

    1. Thanks Iris. Yes, sometimes it's so easy to help the disadvantaged, we just need to know how.

  6. Dearest Sami,
    Happy belated Birthday to your Papa (that's what we also say in The Netherlands!) and what a fun program. We all need that from time to time, we went to one last Sunday afternoon and every Wednesday in Lent the Episcopal Church is having at noon Bach Lenten Series. Organ, singing (soprano, alto), flute, saxophone, piano... It is always a treat!
    This Wednesday will be the very last one for this year.
    Your Dad looked so handsome when he was young. He still is young and so happy that he managed to travel still. Let me see what age my Dad was when he last visited us... In 2005 he was 84! So that is close to your Papa's age.
    Knowing the feeling for being at the other end of the world, sending you blessings.

    1. Thank you Mariette, enjoy your church concerts too. What a relaxing way to spend a few hours.

  7. Os seus pais parecem tão novos! São lindos!!
    Muitos Parabéns ao seu pai, Sami! E desculpe o atraso.

    1. Obrigada Sandra, com 79 e 83 anos, acho que estão muito bem, razoávelmente saudáveis e bastante activos.


I would love to hear from you, please leave a comment.