31 August 2015:
There can be no arguments about the results of the 2015 Australia Choral Grand Prix that Sydney Eisteddfod presented in partnership with the Rotary Club of Sydney Cove at Sydney Town Hall yesterday afternoon. This year, to guarantee a result that was clearly above questioning, organisers split the $20,000 purse in two so both the judging panel and the audience had an equal say in how the prizes were distributed.
The eight school choirs that sang in this event all qualified by placing in The John Lamble Foundation Australasian Choral Championships in June, but although their parents and friends filled the auditorium, when the votes were counted, it became clear that both the jury and the audience voted exactly the same way, Fort Street High School Chamber Choir and the Frensham Madrigals from Mittagong claimed first and second places and the four major awards in that order. When the results were announced, the audience greeted the news with thunderous applause and squeals of delight.
Prior to the announcement, operatic and orchestral conductor Simon Kenway, who with Sydney Eisteddfod Chairman Noel Cislowski, headed the adjudication panel, took to the stage and after congratulating the eight choirs on their excellent performances commented on each individual effort and awarded the additional $1,000 prize for the Best Performance of an Australian composition to the Fort Street High School Chamber Choir. The winners of the People’s Choice Award and the Jury Vote were then announced with Fort Street winning the $4,000 first prize in both sections. The Frensham Madrigals claimed the two $2,000 second prizes, and as the six unplaced finalists received $1,000 each, no choir departed empty handed.
Conducted by Alex Pringle, the Fort Street Chamber Choir scored its victories singing Cantate Domino by Claudio Monteverdi, Ruth McCall’s evocative arrangement of Waltzing Matilda and Sleep by Eric Whitacre. The Australian Choral Grand Prix has been a major highlight of the Sydney Eisteddfod program for the past three years and the Fort Street Chamber Choir has competed successfully on each occasion. In 2013, it won both the Jury Vote and the Award for the Best performance of an Australian Composition. In 2014, it won the Jury Vote again, along with $1,000 Audience Vote and this year it finally scored a trifecta by winning all three awards.
As the choristers undoubtedly change from year-to-year, the success of this outstanding choir reflects favourably on the teachers and musical staff who encourage students in the pursuit of excellence in this important branch of the performing arts.
For immediate release
Jennie Lees, PhD
P: 02 9261 8366