Inspired by the Montreal Homeless Men’s Choir and his previous experience with the Sydney Street Choir, former Opera Australia tenor Jonathon Welch formed a partnership with ABC TV, Fremantle Media and RecLink Australia to document the creation of the Choir of Hard Knocks. Formed in September 2006, the Choir of Hard Knocks is made up of a group of 50 diverse individuals who responded to a call to form a community street choir. Their incredible journey was recorded and broadcast by the ABC and touched the lives of millions of viewers across Australia.
Since that time, the Choir of Hard Knocks has recorded two CDs. Their first release, Songs from the Series, has won a platinum ARIA award and sold in excess of 110,000 copies, while their second album, Songs of Hope and Inspiration, received a gold ARIA award. In 2008 Welch was awarded the Australian of the Year Local Hero Award.
Jessica Rowe is one of Australia’s best known television presenters. She began her career almost 20 years ago and has held various positions including a decade as co-anchor of Network Ten’s First at Five News. She has also co-hosted the Today Show, worked as part of the Seven Network’s news reading team and is a regular contributor to the Sydney Daily Telegraph’s opinion page. She had even swapped her news presenting role for dancing shoes, appearing on Seven’s Dancing with the Stars.
Jessica is passionate about news and current affairs as well as her advocacy work for mental health organisations. She is an ambassador for beyondblue and patron of its work on postnatal depression. Jessica is on the board of the George Gregan Foundation and is a member of the IVF Australia Ethics Committee.
Jessica had co-authored a book with her mother, Penelope Rowe, called The Best of Times, The Worst of Times, an account of their family’s experience of living with Penelope’s bi-polar disorder. She is married to 60 minutes reporter Peter Overton and they have two daughters, Allegra and Giselle.
Television journalist and news presenter Peter Overton began his career at Sydney radio station 2UE, where, as an 18-year-old, he covered weekend sport. He moved to television with Sky Channel, then the Seven Network, and finally the Nine Network. He took a job as a sports reporter at Channel 9 Sydney in 1991. Peter’s reporting highlights include key roles in the coverage of the Thredbo disaster and the Super League war. He moved to 60 Minutes in 2001, serving eight years at the program as a reporter before becoming the Nine Network’s main Sydney news anchor in 2009. Peter is married to fellow patron Jessica Rowe and they have two daughters.
David Galbally QC
David is a Partner of Melbourne-based firm Madgwicks. He is a former board member of the Collingwood Football Club and second eldest son of Australia’s greatest criminal lawyer, Frank Galbally. David has hosted Channel Nine’s consumer affairs program Watchdog and is well known as the legal commentator on Mornings on 3AW with Neil Mitchell program.
David has appeared on more than a dozen murder trials with his father Frank. He is also the Honorary Chairman of the Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Hormone Research Board, and patron of the Epilepsy Foundation.