Wednesday, May 30, 2007

being human

I've been watching a documentary called "The Choir of Hard Knocks" . It follows the work of an opera singer, Jonathan Welch as he forms and records a cd of songs with a choir of homeless and disadvantaged people in Melbourne. Jonathan saw the idea in a Readers Digest magazine, secured sponsorship and donated his time and expertise to this wonderful program. Apart from being a great philanthropic venture "The Choir of Hard Knocks" is a documentary about the power of art.

The documentary follows some of the singers, exploring their home lives (what little some of them have) and following the difficulties they face through illness, poverty and struggles with drugs and alcohol getting to rehearsal. When these people arrive and begin to sing it's as if their secret, inner selves are coming out through their voices. If you closed your eyes and just listened you wouldn't know that the beautiful, innocent young girl was a single mother, battling addiction, with a care worn face and nervous manner, some of the old ladies sound just like they are singing along to the church organ ( You know those voices that carry the whole congregation and pick the mumblers up to a higher level?) and will go on to scones and tea afterwards. This alchemy captures the power and vulnerability of being human.

I think this glimpse of the human condition is one of the most valuable things an artist can bring to the world. Great artists manage to capture this vulnerability and passion in every genre. The drawings of Cy Twombly....


food of Thomas Keller....


The rough delicacy of a Simon Reece teabowl...

5 comments:

Florence said...

beautiful :)

xx

Belinda said...

I too have been watching the Choir of Hard Knocks, and have been moved to tears more than once by the sheer courage and quiet dignity of the people featured.
The beauty of this show is its humanity, the people lay themselves bare, everything stripped away and there are moments where you really feel as though your can see inside their souls.

It is beyond my reality to even try and imagine the experiences that have led these people to the lives they are living today, yet the show demonstrates the strength of the human spirit even in times of seemingly insurmountable adversity.
A must see- very inspirational, and a potent symbol that people are people, we are all the same just with different experiences.

Uschi said...

this is so beautiful and shoes, that art is an essential nourishment to everybody.
do you know "Rythm is it". It is a documentary of a dancing project with school-kids in Berlin featuring Sir Simon Rattle. The same intention: art as a soul-lifting-food!!

eva said...

Thank You for this story!
I`m deeply moved by all these kind people who dare to come out from their comfortable zone to make a difference. So many (too many) of us say, oh, helping one, does n`t make any difference! How wrong it is! It is making a difference, especially to these people who are involved. And let`s face it, we all are responsible for our community for being it as it is.
Thank You so much for sharing!
eva

one black bird said...

so, so lovely shannon!