Festival of Choral Music

Years 3 to 6 students and teachers

The Festival of Choral Music (FoCM) brings students from across NSW to perform selected repertoire in combined mass choirs guided by specialist choral teachers.

Together with outstanding instrumental and vocal items from across NSW, the festival provides the opportunity for schools to access and perform repertoire curated for students and valuable teacher professional learning opportunities.



    Applications are now closed

    • Performance dates – Monday 14 to Tuesday 15 August (Term 3 Week 5) and Monday 18 September to Tuesday 19 September (Term 3 Week 10) 
    • Teachers professional development workshop (mandatory for successful applicants) – 17 February 9:00 am–3:00 pm (Term 1 Week 3)
    • Rehearsals at Salvation Army Congress Hall – 24 to 27 July (Term 3 Week 2)

    Please be aware that this Festival will be contingent on advice provided by the Department of Education in consultation with NSW Health, and can change at short notice.

    Department of Education latest information on COVID-19 advice.

    2023 concert dates at the Sydney Opera House

    • Argyle concert: Monday 14 August 2023, 7:00 pm
    • Australis concert: Tuesday 15 August 2023, 7:00 pm 
    • Bennelong concert: Monday 18 September 2023, 7:00 pm 
    • Endeavour concert: Tuesday 19 September 2023, 7:00 pm

    The NSW Department of Education will present 4 concerts in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House.  School choirs made up of students from Stage 2 and/or 3 that are capable of singing in 2 parts will form part of a combined choir of 700 voices for each concert. 

    How to apply

    Applications are now closed.

    To apply please complete the Festival of Choral Music online application form.

    Please note the 2023 Festival of Choral Music requires an audition video for your selection in the festival.

    • A maximum of 36 students per school will be considered, although this number may be capped/reduced depending on how many schools apply.
    • If you wish to nominate more than 36 students from your school, you will be able to indicate this on the application form.

    Applications close Friday 2 December 2022


    The 2023 repertoire will be the same as the 2021 repertoire. It includes 11 songs carefully selected from a variety of genres such as folk and musical theatre, as well as traditional choral repertoire. The pieces have been arranged for unison and 2-part singing and include Australian compositions and arrangements. Festival of Choral Music 2023 - repertoire


    Preliminary rehearsals at the Salvation Army Congress Hall - mandatory (metropolitan schools only)

    • Argyle rehearsal: Monday 24 July 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
    • Australis rehearsal: Tuesday 25 July 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
    • Bennelong rehearsal: Wednesday 26 July 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm 
    • Endeavour rehearsal: Thursday 27 July 2023, 9:30 am to 1:00 pm

    Cluster rehearsals - mandatory (non-metropolitan schools only)

    • Non-metropolitan schools must host or attend a 4-hour cluster rehearsal with other nearby participating schools during Term 2 or 3 (if COVID-safe guidelines allow), as negotiated with Ian Jefferson.


    • Participation fee of $37.00 per student will be payable upon acceptance into the program.  
    • A rural and remote subsidy of 25% will be offered to all students attending from rural and remote schools as identified by the Department.
    • In the event of a COVID-19 related withdrawal from the festival performance, schools will be refunded 50% of the participation fee paid.

    Professional learning and resources

    • It is mandatory that at least one teacher from each participating school attend the Festival of Choral Music - teachers’ professional development workshop on Friday 17 February 2023, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
    • All teachers from all public schools – regardless of their involvement in the festival - are welcome to attend this workshop. Please register by Friday 3 February 2023 to receive your complimentary copy of the 2023 Festival of Choral Music repertoire.
    • A range of online repertoire resources will become available upon registration.
    • Each participating student will receive a 2023 Festival of Choral Music repertoire book.
    • Extra copies of the repertoire book can be ordered for non-participating students/schools at $20 per book. Teacher copies are complimentary.
    • Each participating student and teacher will receive a specially designed T-shirt to wear at the performance.

    Instrumental and vocal items

    In 2023 performance opportunities are available for outstanding instrumental and vocal items at the Festival of Instrumental Music, Arts Alive Choral Festival, Festival of Choral Music, Cantabile Music Festival and Primary Proms. These opportunities are open to all public school students and can include music ensembles of all sizes, large or small – including soloists and choirs. To find out more and to apply, visit the Instrumental and vocal items page. Applications to be considered for a performance at the Festival of Instrumental Music must be submitted by Monday 24 April 2023. Applications for a performance at all other festivals close on Friday 16 June 2023.


    For further information concerning the 2023 Festival of Choral Music please contact Ian Jefferson, Student Music Programs Officer (K-8) at The Arts Unit – email: Ian.Jefferson@det.nsw.edu.au or concerts.artsunit@det.nsw.edu.au


    Music Festivals
    The Arts Unit
    Ian Jefferson
    Student Music Programs Officer (K-8)
    The Arts Unit