Formed in April 2009 by Musical Director and Educator Jonathan Bligh, The Festival Statesmen Chorus is a dynamic all-male a cappella vocal group. The chorus exists to provide a platform for young Adelaide singers to achieve vocal and performance excellence. Membership ranges from middle school through to young adults. Among the ranks of singers are several small ensembles.
The Chorus is fortunate to be a part of three major singing organisations; Vocal Australia (VA) and Barbershop Harmony Australia (BHA) and the Australian National Choral Association (ANCA). Through these organisations the chorus has access to national and international educators, vocal coaches and performers. As a result, FS offers SACE units for Year 12 Ensemble Performance Students and annual vocal workshops for secondary school students.
The Chorus has a strong competitive spirit. In September of 2016 a smaller ensemble within the Chorus attended the AUSACA Australian A Cappella Awards in Melbourne. The group took out the national title of A Cappella Champions of the League Division and also secured Best Soloist – Jono Webb, Best Vocal Percussionist – Daniel Maley, and Best Contemporary Song – I Won’t Give Up arranged by Nicholas Girard. In 2015 the Chorus travelled to Melbourne and won a National Silver Medal in the Open Barbershop Harmony Australia National Chorus Competition and first place in the Male Youth Chorus category. In 2014 the Chorus took out the inaugural AUS-ACA National A Cappella Championships in Melbourne and won the prizes for Best Soloist, Best Classical Song, Best Large Ensemble and Best Contemporary Song. In September 2013 the Chorus travelled to Perth, Western Australia to compete in the National Barbershop Competition. They won gold in the Youth Chorus section and were awarded silver medals and audience favourite in the Open category. They were also awarded ‘Club of the Year’. In 2012 the chorus entered the Adelaide Choral Eisteddfod and won all the categories they entered including; Open Male Voice Choir, Open Chamber Choir and Open Small Choir. They were also awarded the Choral Excellence award for 2012. In September of 2011 the Chorus travelled to Queensland to compete in the National and Pan Pacific Region Barbershop Competitions and was awarded bronze medal in the Open category and a gold medal in the Youth category.
Performance highlights for the group include the Adelaide Fringe season of Festival Statesmen: Homecoming (2016), headlining the Festival of Voices in Hobart (2015), the Pemulwuy National Male Voice Choir Festival in Brisbane (2014), TocH 100th Anniversary Gala Concert (2015), the ANCA hosted Young Adelaide Sings and Adelaide Sings, the National Vet Conference (Adelaide), the Kodaly National Music Conference, the Installation of the Grand Master of the Freemasons for SA and NT, the Cultural Heritage Festival, the South Australian Training Awards Ceremony, and performing in Community Carol Services including the 2010 Elder Park Carols by Candlelight for an audience of thirty-five thousand people. The Chorus has also combined with a number of other groups including Young Adelaide Voices, St John’s Grammar, The Adelaider Liedertafel 1858, Saint Peter’s Boys College, and The Metropolitan Male Voice Choir and more.