Fort Street High School Chamber Choir. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Fort Street High School Chamber Choir, winners of the Jury Vote for Youth (19/u) Choirs in the 2017 Australian Choral Grand Prix, have built up a reputation for exquisite harmonies, soulful sounds and for captivating audiences from start to finish.
Having claimed victory in the Australian Choral Grand Prix for four consecutive years, 2014 to 2017, they have truly solidified their place in the Sydney Eisteddfod history books.
Chorister Emily Henderson recently spoke to Sydney Eisteddfod about her experiences with Fort Street High School Chamber Choir and why she loves choral singing.
Describe choral singing in five words
Teamwork, listening, communicating, emotive, fun
Tell us how you became involved in your first choir?
I was involved in my primary school's choir, Hunters Hill Public School. It was small, and at that point we all swapped between soprano and alto, but it was lots of fun. I particularly remember singing as a choir for school ANZAC day (my mother cried and was very proud!).
Why do you love being a chorister?
I get to take something away from it: a group of friends who all work together and shape some very nice harmonies. Hopefully, the audience also gets to take something away from it: a performance that communicates something to them individually.
What has been a highlight of performing with Fort Street High School Chamber Choir?
Last year we got to be backing vocalists for Josh Groban! It was incredible to work in a professional environment, not to mention we were all a little star-struck.
What styles of music do you like singing with Fort Street High School Chamber Choir most?
I really enjoy a lot of the more modern choral music with gorgeous harmonies and grating dissonances. I'm something of a sucker for the sad, slow, soaring songs.
What is Fort Street High School Chamber Choir hoping to achieve next as an ensemble?
I guess we're always trying to improve our sound and try all sorts of different pieces. In a few months we'll be performing in the Resonance series of concerts.
Do you have any tips for somebody thinking of joining a choir?
Do it!! Everyone can sing! It's really important to listen to everyone else in the choir. Put your heart into it!
What do you believe the future holds for choral singing in Australia?
Hopefully it's a very bright future. I think encouraging young people to be passionate about choral singing will lead to lifetimes of enjoyment, and a better fostering of this music throughout Australia.