Fort Street High School Chamber Choir on stage at the 2017 Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WInkiPoP Media
Since 1933, choral events have ranked importantly in Sydney Eisteddfod's annual program and have featured thousands of choristers and even some traffic stopping performances.
In 1938, when Sydney celebrated its Sesquicentenary with fireworks over the harbour and dancing in the streets, the spotlight shone on the choirs, along with the annual festival. That year, when the choristers were not competing in the Eisteddfod they joined together to make a choir of 5,000 voices and performed at Sydney Showground and other key venues.
On the last day of the festival, the Combined Coalfield Male Choir from Cessnock won the Chief Choral Contest for Male Voice Choirs and received a hundred-pound cash prize, and was awarded The City of Sydney Cup, a shining silver three-foot trophy. Delighted by their win, the miners marched out of the Assembly Hall into Margaret Street brandishing their rewards. Standing in the middle of the road, they stopped the passing crowd while they sang hymns of praise to all, including the police who later joined the others in thunderous applause.
Across the eight-and-a-half decades, choirs have continued to occupy an important place in the annual program. Today, thanks to the inclusion of The John Lamble Foundation Australasian Choral Championships, choirs continue to pursue excellence through public performance in a competitive environment.