Arts Alive Choral Festival

Region: Metro South and West Metropolitan North | Sydney North and West
Kindergarten to Year 12
Local arts program Public schools Music
Tags: Choral music, Music, Voice

The Arts Alive Choral Festival provides the opportunity for public schools to come together annually to showcase high-quality individual items and combined school choirs. 

Students from Kindergarten to Year 12 are provided with an opportunity to develop and refine music and performance skills. In 2023, the Arts Alive Choral Festival is open to all public schools across NSW.

Opportunities are available for school groups of up to 30 students to participate in the combined primary choir and for soloists, duets, small groups and large ensembles to perform as individual items in one of four performances.

    2023 dates

    Arts Alive Choral Festival - performance dates:

    • Pinaroo Concert - Monday 7 August 2023 (Term 3 Week 4) – Sydney Opera House
    • Wyangan Concert - Monday 11 September 2023 (Term 3 Week 9) – Sydney Opera House

    Preliminary rehearsals for the Combined Primary Choir will be held at Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park on:

    • Tuesday 25 July 2023 (Term 3 Week 2) - Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park (for schools participating in the Pinaroo Concert)
    • Wednesday 26 July 2023 (Term 3 Week 2) - Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park (for schools participating in the Wyangan Concert)


    Applications for participation in the 2023 Arts Alive Choral Festival are now open:

    Combined Primary Choir

    The Arts Alive Choral Festival invites school groups from NSW public schools to apply to be part of the combined choir for the event in 2023. Applications close on Monday 12 December 2022.

    The 2022 repertoire will feature an array of diverse choral works for primary school choirs and is most suitable for students in Years 4 to 6. 

    teachers' workshop will be held on Monday 20 March 2023 (Term 1 Week 9) from 9:30 am to 2:30 pm.  It is compulsory for all participating schools to send at least one teacher to this workshop. The venue for this workshop will be confirmed in early Term 1.

    The student resource fee for each student participant is $40.00. As part of this, all students will receive access to digital copies of the repertoire and teaching materials, and a concert t-shirt. In the event of a COVID-19 related withdrawal from the festival performance, schools will be refunded 50% of the participation fee paid.

    Entry to the 2023 Arts Alive Choral Festival combined primary choir will be via audition. Schools should submit a video of their choir singing one song of their choice. The audition panel will be using the following criteria to select the schools to be involved in the 2023 performances:

    • choral sound - students singing in tune, using head voice - rather than a strident chest voice in their singing - and choirs singing with a blended choral tone without 'lost voices' or individual students' voices sticking out
    • students' level of focus - watching the conductor, standing with hands by sides focused on good singing (choirs should avoid adding 'choralography' for these audition videos)
    • ability to hold parts - if schools submit a video of choirs singing in two or more parts the choir's success at achieving this will be taken into account

    Schools may apply for a group of up to 30 students to participate, and there will be an option on the online application form to indicate that you would like to bring more than 30 students if we have space available.

    Please note, the number of students accepted from your school will be confirmed on acceptance into the concert. Due to capacity limitations in each venue, we may not be able to accept the full number of students each school applies to have involved. Schools will be notified of their final numbers accepted by Monday 20 February 2023 (Term 1 Week 5).

    Preliminary rehearsals for the combined primary choir will be held on  Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 July 2023 (Term 3 Week 2) at Netball Central, Sydney Olympic Park. Rehearsals will run from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm. Schools should attend the rehearsal for the concert in which they have been allocated.

    On the day of the performance, groups in the combined primary choir will be expected to rehearse at the Sydney Opera House from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and then return at 6:15 pm for a 7:00 pm performance.

    Individual items

    The Arts Alive Choral Festival offers opportunities for primary and secondary students and schools to submit applications to perform featured items in the concerts held at the Sydney Town Hall and the Sydney Opera House.

    These can be solo, small group or large ensemble items. Schools are able to submit as many entries as they like, however, a separate online application form must be submitted for each piece and performer/ensemble. Applications close on Monday 22 May 2023.

    Applicants will need to submit an audition video with their online application. This video must be of the piece that the performer/ensemble wishes to perform at the event. The maximum duration for auditioned individual items is 5 minutes. 

    Please note that successful applications will be allocated a position to perform at one of the 2 performances.

    There is a technical rehearsal for individual items on the day of each concert. Times and details will be confirmed with successful applicants closer to the date of the performance.

    Guest conductors

    Applications are sought from teachers in NSW public schools who wish to be considered as a guest conductor for the 2023 Arts Alive Choral Festival. Successful applicants will conduct one piece with the combined primary choir at one of the 2 performances of the 2023 festival and will participate in mentoring opportunities with the festival conductors.

    Interested applicants should complete the online application form by Monday 12 December 2022. If possible, please provide a video of you conducting a choir (such as your school choir), although this is not vital for your application to be considered.

    Student comperes

    The Arts Alive Choral Festival is looking for 2 students to compere each performance of the 2022 festival. Comperes must currently be in Years 5 to 10 at a NSW public school. A different pair of students will be selected to host each  performance.

    To apply, students should complete the online application form by Monday 22 May 2023. Students will need to submit a video of themselves reading the following text:

    Good evening and welcome to the Sydney Opera House for the NSW Department of Education’s Arts Alive Choral Festival for 2023. The festival has been developed to showcase the musical achievements of our primary and secondary school students, and will feature students and their teachers from public schools across NSW. The Arts Alive programs provide outstanding learning, performing, and exhibition opportunities for students in public schools from Kindergarten to Year 12. Teachers and students are supported in all art forms: music, dance, drama and visual arts. Training, opportunity, innovation and excellence are the hallmarks of the Arts Alive programs where students have opportunities to work alongside creative artists of the highest calibre.

    Please ensure the text is read as if you are in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House. Students should not look directly into the camera when presenting the text.

    COVID-19 notice

    The operation of this program is contingent on advice provided by the NSW Department of Education in consultation with NSW Health. All activities will adhere to the DoE COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions.

    Visit the COVID-19 and public schools in NSW web page for more information.


    Peter Hayward
    Arts Coordination Officer