Choir Of Hard Knockbacks

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2nd April 2009, 09:03am - Views: 2436





Culture Entertainment Tess Lawrence Media Services Pty Ltd / McKean Park Lawyers 1 image



URGENT...URGENT...URGENT..


PRESS CONFERENCE: 10.30AM TODAY, APRIL 2, 2009


McKEAN PARK LAWYERS

LEVEL 11, 

575 BOURKE ST. 

MELBOURNE


CHOIR OF HARD KNOCKBACKS! 


THE MULTI AWARD-WINNING TV SERIES BROUGHT

THEM FAME BUT NOT FORTUNE


* NEW CHOIR BEING FORMED, DISSENTERS DUMPED

* THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS EARNED

    * BUT HOMELESS STILL HOMELESS – WHY ?


WHERE'S THE REALITY CHEQUE ?


THEY'RE NOT SINGING 

FROM THE SAME SONGBOOK ANYMORE


Life is no dress rehearsal.  Few know this better than our disparate choristers – some

are homeless, some wrestle with issues that few of us have the courage to confront in

our own lives.  Weekly, they bared their souls and their demons to us.


“ I've heard there was a secret chord....”


They dedicated months of their lives to the ground-breaking TV series, and the

supportive and generous Australian community paid out thousands of dollars to

purchase the equally acclaimed videos, CDs, DVDs and Boxed Sets in the fervent

belief that a percentage of the purchase price would go to all individual choir

members to improve their lives, not only psychologically, but in a material sense as

well – to bring comfort rather than luxury to those who sleep and live rough, but

whose poignant songlines took many of us on a road less travelled. 





2.


Their moving and collective resolve gave their Australian brothers and sisters a

glimpse into mostly unexamined lives and a predicament normally measured in tepid

statistics.  There but for the grace of lesser gods go we.


“ But you don't really care for music, do you ? ”


Something happened along the way.  Far from the madding crowds, the applause, the

awards, the rubbing of shoulders and the rubbing of egos; certain members of the

choir got left behind.  


“....your faith was strong but you needed proof...”


Promises were broken.  Dreams were shattered. Self-esteem splintered. They were

locked out of the decision-making.  Not consulted.  Some have been isolated.  For

some, the once soaring self-esteem and sense of happiness at their collective success,

is now curdled with the stress and alienation they now feel.


“...love is not a victory march,

It's a cold and it is a broken Hallelujah “


Just because someone is homeless or grappling with serious issues, does not mean

they have no intelligence or right to determine their future.  

 

“ ..there was a time when you'd let me know

What's really going on below,

But now you never show that to me, do you ? “


There is no doubt that The Choir of Hard Knocks juggernaut has generated a

considerable amount of money for individuals and organisations.  As well it might.  

It was a compelling and brilliant series. But it is untenable that years later, there has

been little evidence of any improvement in the quality of life for some of the

choristers.  In whose interest is it, to keep choir members downtrodden ?  

What remedial life-affirming programs were put in place for them out of fat profits

they made for others ?  What personal growth strategies ? Are they doomed to be

forever slum dogs ?  They never asked to be millionaires. But here was a chance for

them to be lifted out of ignominy in a humane embrace.  And for great and greater

things to be achieved by both the mentors and the mentored.


Since November of last year, David Brett from McKean Park has been attempting, in

vain to get some answers on behalf of his clients; members of The Choir of Hard

Knocks and the Morning Bell Choir.



3.


Without question, the Choir has changed forever the lives of its participants.

But some will say, not for the better; because of the stress, anxiety and depression at

the way they have been treated.


Brett wrote:


“ ..when the Choir of Hard Knocks was initially formed, our clients were advised that

regular financial reports would be provided ( on a monthly basis ) and yet, to date, no

financial reports have been provided.  Our clients are uncertain as to the funds that

have been received in respect of the Choir of Hard Knocks, and the manner in which

they have been distributed.


“ .....They are concerned,clearly, that if queries are raised in relation to the Choir, and

the distribution of funds, etc., they will be discharged from the Choir, permanently or

on a temporary basis.  We are instructed that this has occurred on a number of

occasions when Choir members have raised issues of concern.  “ 


“ We confirm that we are seeking financial information for the Choir of Hard Knocks,

which will indicate the monies received for or on behalf of the Choir, from direct

financial donations, sale of DVDs and CDs, sponsorship and donations of such items

as accommodation, etc., and from the sale of merchandise associated with the Choir

of Hard Knocks. “


Further, Brett has asked for copies of any releases or agreements concerning the

documentary on The Choir of Hard Knocks and clarification that it was “represented

at the point of sale of the DVD that $1.00 for every DVD sold would go towards the

Choir.” 


Whilst certain information has been provided, it has been neither concise nor clear.


Says Brett,” My clients are being treated simply as goods and chattels.  I am

disturbed that they have been excluded from the decision making process.  The

previous choir conductor seems to have simply procured ownership of the Choir,

formed his own organisation and appointed his own Board. “


But there have been too many people purporting to speak on behalf of the Choir.

We invite you to today's press conference to question the choir members yourselves. 

Unedited.  Unscripted.  This is a big call for them to make, and they are concerned 

about the ramifications of speaking out.  They are doing so of their own free will.

There will be no engineered scenario.  No PR hype.  




Culture Entertainment Tess Lawrence Media Services Pty Ltd / McKean Park Lawyers 2 image

4.


Some appropriate lyrics from Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah – one of the favourites

from the Choir of Hard Knocks repertoire.


Please Contact: Tess Lawrence, Journalist/Advocate. 

Campaign Director. “ Choir of Hard Knockbacks”

Ph: 03 94176398

Email: tess@planetozmedia.com.au


David Brett: Consultant Lawyer.  McKean Park Lawyers

Mobile: 0412 513333

Email: david.brett@mckeanpark.com.au


* 'The Choir of Hard Knockbacks' is a Pro Bono initiative of Mckean Park Lawyers

& Tess Lawrence Media Services Pty Ltd.













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