The Playground

The Simply Music blog

Performer, Conductor & Teacher Jonathon Welch with Gordon Harvey – Interview

Found in: Interviews

“I love… when people think something is ‘impossible’, to break that down and think ‘I’m possible’…”

Jonathon Welch is an Australian institution in multiple music-related fields, and a truly inspiring individual. As a tenor, he has had over 60 stage roles including Principal Tenor in just about every major production in Australia from Aida to The Gondoliers, singing opposite the likes of Dame Joan Sutherland.

On another plane, he has been the founder and leader of many of Australia’s best-known community choirs, work which has led to multiple awards right up to an Order of Australia and the Australian of the Year Local Hero award in 2008. He is a respected educator and adjudicator in various areas of vocal music and travels around the country and internationally as a supporter and conductor of choirs and choral music, and a sought-after motivational speaker.

Jonathon is perhaps most famous as the Founding Music Director for the Choir of Hard Knocks, designed to support physically, mentally or socially disadvantaged people, and has led them through hard work and hope to perform at sellout concerts at the Sydney Opera House and other major venues. This wonderful story was the subject of a hugely popular and award-winning television documentary and earned the choir a Platinum ARIA for their first CD From the Heart.

In typical style, Jonathon has used his experience with the choir, now known as the Choir of Hope and Inspiration, to launch into an exciting new venture, the School of Hard Knocks, which develops his vision into an institution teaching music, singing, drama, writing, visual arts and other creative fields, focusing on those disadvantaged people who can most benefit from and most deserve creative expression. Our own Kerry Verdon has been voluntarily teaching Simply Music keyboard lessons as part of this program.

You can hear her part of the story in our Teacher of the Month feature.

The interview is an inspiring look into what drew Jonathon into a life in music, how music and singing have given him hope and strength to take leaps of faith, why he’s driven to “give something back” to those people who are so often put in the too-hard basket, and why he is known as the “Town Crier”.

Listen to Gordon Harvey speak with Jonathon Welch