The great public school choir of ten thousand

Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Chaseling, MJ 2004, 'The great public school choir of ten thousand', in K Hartwig (ed.), Artistic Practice as Research: Proceedings of the XXVth Annual Conference, Brisbane, Qld., 27-30 September, Australian and New Zealand Association for Research in Music Education, Melbourne, Vic., pp. 25-43. ISBN: 0958608644.

Marilyn J Chaseling has also published under the name of Marilyn Ryan

Peer Reviewed



On January 1 1901, as part of the ceremony in Centennial Park, Sydney, for the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia, a Great Public School Choir of ten thousand Sydney children performed under the direction of Herr Hugo Alpen. Despite the logistical and organizational feat of assembling a vast choir and its high quality, the performance was given little attention in the reports of the day. This paper reflects on the performance of this choir of thousands and concludes that, at the time of Federation, Sydney public schools were very musical places.