Jonathon Welch

Journey of Hard Knocks, MC, Facilitator, Speaker, Singer

Jonathon Welch's career in the music industry spans 30 years. His ongoing commitments are to youth and community music education as a vocal teacher, choral conductor, song writer, public speaker, author and passionate advocate for the homeless, disadvantaged and marginalised. He also has a busy professional singing and performing career as an ABC recording artist.

Jonathon facilitates highly effective workshops with corporate groups across Australia. In doing so, he inspires teams to move beyond their comfort zones, to build confidence, resilience and embrace change as a positive challenge. Jonathon also delivers riveting keynote presentations in which he describes his experiences establishing the Journey of Hard Knocks. A talented singer, MC, facilitator and inspirational speaker, Jonathon's versatility makes him one of our most in demand speakers for a variety of events.

About Jonathon Welch:

Jonathon Welch is considered one of the finest tenors of his generation. He made his professional singing debut with Victorian State Opera in 1981. Jonathon toured with the VSO in the Broadway production of The Pirates of Penzance in 1984 with Marina Prior, Jon English, David Atkins, June Bronhill, Todd McKenny and David Hobson. He went on to make his major operatic debut with Opera Australia in 1988 alongside Dame Joan Sutherland in The Merry Widow. He has gone onto perform with many of the world's finest singers across many genres, conductors and directors including k.d Lang, Jimmy Somerville, Anne Murray, Slim Dusty, Jimmy Barnes, Kate Cebrano, Richard Bonynge, Baz Luhrmann, Graeme Murphy and Kasey Chambers to name a few.

Jonathon Welch is very well known for his work on ABC TV in June 2007 as the Founding Music Director of the ARIA, Logie and Helpmann award winning Choir of Hard Knocks (now known as the Choir of Hope and Inspiration) and popular Judge on Battle of the Choir's for Channel 7. Jonathon has continued to appear extensively in live performance and on national television most recently on Carols in the Domain, Carols By Candelight, 2008 Australian of the Year Awards, Good Morning Australia, The Today Show and has featured on Our House, ABC's Compass, Entertainment Tonight, Australian Story, Kerrie-Ann's Morning Show, Talking Heads, ABC Arts Program, Spicks and Specks and 60 Minutes.

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to Australia's music industry and his unique service supporting and inspiring the homeless and disadvantaged, Jonathon has been awarded Victorian and Australian of the Year - Local Hero 2008, ANZAC of the Year 2008, RMIT Communicator of the Year 2008, an Honorary Doctorate from Griffiths University and an Order of Australia in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours.

In November 2009 Jonathon launched another passion project - Social Inclusion Week and National Street Party Weekend, along with the implementation of Choir programs into the women's prison system in Victoria.

Jonathon Welch's keynote speeches and workshops:


  • Move your staff right out of their "comfort zone" and build self esteem, confidence and teamwork like never before!

Jonathon Welch has built his reputation on the fact that he believes everyone can sing.

He's even created one of the most successful music acts in Australian history with a group of homeless and disadvantaged people in the "Choir of Hard Knocks" (now known as the Choir of Hope and Inspiration) - and they said it couldn't be done!

In a fun series of workshops, Jonathon will not only show you and your staff/clients how hard the Choir has worked to not only achieve, but maintain their success and help turn many of their lives around, but can also create your very own "Corporate Choir" within your organisation, through fun, non-threatening & innovative movement and singing workshops, where teamwork is developed in a way you would never think possible developing confidence, staff collaboration, and communication. 

Choirs can be developed between departments or companies with a "sing off" to display their accomplishments (this is really a fun way to entertain at your Corporate or staff dinner too), as well as show that each member of the choir team, if you are the CEO or the tea lady, everyone has to "pull their weight"  to build their individual confidence and get them to work together as a team, not only giving their voice, but listening to each other to be the best "choir" that they can be and sound as "one voice".


  • Building Resilience & Embracing Change as a Positive Challenge

Most people know Jonathon through his amazing work as the creator of the Logie, Helpmann and ARIA award winning Choir of Hard Knocks.

"What most people don't know is when I turned 23, my mother died, my father had disappeared, my sister was on the streets with 3 children and the only thing that saved my life was my passion for music and the offer of joining a touring Broadway show".

Would you have seen this as a crisis or a turning point?

As a call to action to create a more caring & inclusive society, Jonathon's creation of  Social Inclusion Week and the National Street Party concept in November 2009 seems simple, but it has taken a lifetime of soul searching and personal difficulty to help formulate the creation of these projects that are "world firsts".  Jonathon will share his own personal journey of crisis that he saw as a turning point each time, that has led him to be considered one of the most innovative social entrepreneurs today (including the journey of Choir of  Hard Knocks and Jail Birds, his latest ABC documentary set in Tarrengower women's prison), to take you through the inspiration behind his project and provide the impetus for clients to re evaluate change and crisis, connect with staff and all those around them & foster a sense of community and return to the values of caring, collaboration and cohesion.


  • Corporate Entertainment and/or Social Responsibility Programme

For the first time, the original members of the Choir of Hard Knocks (now known as the Choir of Hope and Inspiration)) is not only available to sing at your Corporate function as the perfect opener or finale to your event or conference, they will also share their personal stories (S.O.S. Share Our Stories) individually and collectively, of their personal trials and tribulations to become part of the most celebrated and unique music acts in Australian history.

After the Choir has sung some of their hits from their ARIA award winning CDs, the choir members come forward in a candid "Q and A" to tell some of their stories of homelessness, disadvantage, mental illness, drug & alcohol addiction, and move down from the stage, to sit with you at the table and talk personally with your staff or clients.

The Choir members & Jonathon will engage Corporate Australia to help understand the issues everyone faces around hardship & resilience, as they help you to understand that the situations they have faced in their lives, could happen to anyone of us is the blink of an eye.

S.O.S (Share Our Stories) is the most unique experience you will ever witness and the perfect "ice breaker" to make your event the most memorable ever.


  • Singer, MC and inspirational Speaker

When was the last time you saw one of Australia's most celebrated TV personalities and singers, who has also won an Australian of the Year Local Hero award and has won an ARIA, Logie and Helpmann Award, MC an event as well as sing and be an inspirational key note speaker - all on the same night!

Jonathon Welch is truly a brilliant and extraordinarily versatile talent as well as being an inspiration to all Australian's for his work with the homeless and his passion for Social Justice, for which he has been awarded with Australian of the Year, Local hero 2008 and an Order of Australia in the June 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours One of Australia's finest Tenors, Jonathon released his current album, "With a Song in My Heart" in 2008.  Produced and distributed by ABC Classics, the album contains many of the most popular songs ever recorded, from Musical Theatre to Stevie Wonder and a Jonathon Welch original thrown in for good measure.  Jonathon's versatility can deliver a rapturous performance from the pop, music theatre or operatic genre to Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up", or all of the above so as to tailor each function to suit your individual needs.

Jonathon has worked and sung with the best of the world's great artists, Directors & Conductors including Dame Joan Sutherland, k.d. Lang, Jimmy Somerville, Anne Murray, Slim Dusty, Jimmy Barnes, Kate Ceberano, Richard Bonynge, Baz Luhrmann, Graeme Murphy, Jimmy Barnes and Kasey Chambers to name a few.

As an "all in one" package, Jonathon is also available to act as MC as well as sing and/or speak at your event - so if you want the man that can "do it all" - you will be delighted with his amazing singing talent as well as Jonathon's warm, funny and engaging sense of style that will bring a level of class bar none - to help bring all elements of your event together to make it a truly memorable occasion.

Jonathon Welch's Integrated Workshop:

The Rhythm of Life - Considered one of the finest singers, conductors, vocal teachers and music educators in Australia today - Jonathon will have your team up singing and moving in no time! "Music and singing is really the same as what we do in business" says Jonathon. Within the structure and rhythmic formality of music, like that of running a business, you still have to find your own way to "dance" and work as a team.

Client testimonials

Wow! It doesn't get any better than a standing ovation from an AMP audience. All the delegate feedback rated Jonathon's presentation as the most outstanding presentation on the main plenary which is only fitting for a man who has made such a difference to so many disadvantaged lives and has forced a nation to look at the homeless and destitute through a fresh pair of eyes. Our production team really appreciated the amount of work that Jonathon was prepared to put in prior to the event to get it just right for this very critical audience. It's a powerful story that Jonathon tells, which needs to be told again and again and again. We have no hesitation in providing a personal reference to any client who is thinking of using Jonathon at one of their events.

Australian Business Theatre

Jonathon’s presentation was truly inspirational. The relevance to the conference was perfect and he is a total professional.

Corporate Communique

Just a quick note to let you know that Jonathon was absolutely terrific at the Novartis conference. He went over and above the call of duty with his workshop which everyone absolutely loved. He had an exhausting trip from Hobart to Port Douglas and still spent about 3 hours on his speech and workshop. He certainly was a highlight and loved by all. He also spent a lot of time at the end mingling with guests and discussing the Choir at length.

Graffiti Group

Jonathon was such a lovely person and was a pleasure to work with. His presentation and indeed his story was captivating and inspiring.

Macquarie International

They thought he was fantastic, all reviews were wonderful and the guests were still talking about him after he left which is always a great sign and shows that he had certainly made an impact.

Corporate Travel Management

He was very well received, he actively engaged our diverse audience and his material was relevant and inspirational.