Australia's Choir of Hard Knocks

One man shares his journey from homelessness to harmony.

    Australia's Choir of Hard Knocks performed three sellout gigs at Sydney Opera House

    An Australian choir has just completed three sellout shows at Sydney Opera House.

    But this is no ordinary choir. It is made up of drug addicts, alcoholics and the disadvantaged. Known as the Choir of Hard Knocks, the group was set up last year as a means of therapy.

    One choir member, Tim Stapleton, talks to Al Jazeera about the joy of singing at Sydney's Opera House, as opposed to looking at it from a park bench.

    First person

    Tim Stapleton: In video
    "My name's Tim Stapleton and I used to sleep on park benches in the central business district around Sydney, Australia.

    "I was homeless for a number of years.

    "I'm not homeless any more and instead of looking at the Opera House from a park bench, tonight I'm singing in it.

    "I'm part of the Choir of Hard Knocks which is a choir for people who are homeless, disadvantaged, people who are suffering drug and alcohol problems, people who have disabilities.

    "Singing in choir for me has been awesome, it's increased my confidence.

    "It's given me the ability to believe that I am capable of doing anything I want in life.

    "Since I've been in the choir I've seen just dramatic changes in people's lives, people who have been depressed and quiet really coming out of their shells.

    The choir: In video
    "I've seen people who you wouldn't have thought could sing, but have amazing voices.

    "If there's one thing I'd like the audience to understand about the choir it is that we may be a bunch of homeless, drug-addicted, disabled people but we are still people and we still have goals and dreams and potential.

    "We are human beings like everyone else. Just see us as people and that we have a heart and we are out there to spread the love."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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