Enter Entries opn 01 March - 30 April

2024 Vocal Competition dates: Monday 12 - Friday 17 August 

Venue: The Mechanics Institute, Minerva Space, Sturt St, Ballarat

We have partnered with MyStage to create an innovative competition management system that helps our volunteers and staff run a smooth event.  Song titles, sheet music and backing tracks can all be uploaded in preparation for the event. 

A MyStage account is required.

VCE Singers

VCE Singers (Unit 1 – 4) in either VCE Performance (Repertoire or Contemporary) or VCE VET Music Industry (Performance) have the opportunity to perform two contrasting songs from their program in a non-competitive section, with feedback based on the VCAA criteria and full masterclass with Gerald Marko.

We are also offering a new Vocalist and Accompanist Section in 2024.


We announce different professional adjudicators every year, always offering a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills to share in their adjudication and encouragement of the performances.

Adjudication is based on specific criteria.

Our 2024 adjudicators, are Justine Anderson, Gerald Marko and Sally Bourne.  With guest adjudication and Art Song Masterclass by Richard Chew.


15 points – Intonation
15 points – Vocal Technique
10 points – Rhythm / Phrasing
10 points – Diction / Articulation / Dynamics
15 points – Story Telling / Authenticity
10 points – Presentation / Poise / Focus
10 points – Stylistic Markers of the genre
10 points – Musicality / Interpretation
5 points – Appropriate Song Choice

Vocal Competition

Our eisteddfod platform is an important part of the encouraging and transformative journey for performers where they can receive constructive feedback, learn and refine their skills, boost their confidence, and unlock their full potential.

Join us on your path to self-discovery and artistic excellence.

With a range of new sections and great prize money, we encourage performers across a wide range of genres.

We currently are offer the following sections:

  • Novice - sing for critique only
  • Upbeat Pop/Rock
  • Country
  • Stage and Screen Upbeat Character or Comedy
  • Stage and Screen Ballad
  • Jazz/Blues/Soul/Gospel
  • Contemporary Ballad
  • AMEB/Exam Syllabus Beginner
  • AMEB/Exam Syllabus Intermediate
  • AMEB/Exam Syllabus Advanced
  • Duet/Trio
  • ‘Strut Your Stuff’
  • Pre-1960’s Classic Stage and Screen
  • Classical Vocal Solo
  • Operetta and Enduring Classics
  • Sacred and Oratorio
  • Lieder and Art Song
  • Crossover Championship with a $1000 first prize on offer!

Proudly supported by

Ballarat Opera Festival Opportunity – Classical vocalists 16 Years and Over, are eligible to be invited to take part in the Ballarat Opera Festival (sponsored by Victorian Opera).  Spread out across the year, the festival will consist of a celebration of singing through three main events, all of which showcase Victorian Opera’s strong partnership with local performing arts groups and the people of Ballarat. After the success of The Big Sing in 2023, held at the Civic Hall, this cornerstone event of the festival will return continuing Victorian Opera’s relationship with the Ballarat Choral Society and Ballarat Symphony Orchestra. In addition, 2024 will see the inclusion of a fully staged opera along with a lecture and recital series.

Victorian Opera Season Pass – Awarded to the winner of ‘Crossover Championship’.

Tickets to Victorian Opera Sweeney Todd – Awarded to the winner of ‘Operetta and Enduring Classics’

Tickets to Victorian Opera Eucalyptus – Awarded to the winner of ‘Art Song and Lieder’

Great prizes

Aggregate prizes: for each age group - $100 recipient

Marjorie Davies Encouragement award: $100 for a male competitor in 11 to Under 14 years.

Nicholas McMahon Prize for the best boy soprano : $100 recipient

Nicholas McMahon Prize for the best male in Stage & Screen : $100 recipient

Victorian Opera Season Pass : to the winner of Classical Crossover

Victorian Opera Festival Vocal Sponsorship

Sally Bourne Music Theatre Prize: coaching session with a top industry professional


Supporter & Sponsors

A huge thank you to our prize money and medal supporters and sponsors

The generosity of our supporters and sponsors enables us to offer cash prizes, medals and ribbons for competitors in every section.

Silver Crown Supporters
  • SBN - School Broadcasting Network
Bronze Crown Supporters
  • Henkell Family Fund
Champion Supporters
  • Optiform
Encore Sponsors
  • BLOC Music Theatre Inc
  • Caine Real Estate
  • Field Air
  • Lorayne Branch
  • The Piano Bar
Spotlight Sponsors
  • Coward-Lemke Music School
  • Ballarat Allied Health
  • Ballarat Vocal Studio
  • BCMA - Ballarat Centre of Music & the Arts
  • Birmingham Farm
  • Chris Gardiner
  • Elsie Morison Memorial Trust
  • Homeground Cafe and Bakery
  • Marjorie Davies
  • Nicholas McMahon
  • Robyn Antoine
  • Sally Bourne
  • The Shine Centre
  • Val Coad
  • William Morrell Memorial Fund

We always welcome additional supporters and sponsors.  As a charitable organisation, all donations and sponsorships are tax deductible see our Support Us page.


Australian Boys Choir Image

Australian Boys Choir Coming to Ballarat

Carolyn Bennett

Radio Interview on 3BA with our Development & Volunteer Coordinator Carolyn Bennett

2024 Entries Open On 1st March

Entries Open on 01 March

ENews Images Jan Are You Ready To Shine In 2024

Alumni – Past Competitors


Did you know?

Learn more about the Vocal discipline from stories collated from our news, alumni, historical records and media platforms. 


Learn more about the Vocal discipline from our collection of stories, historical records and media....

Lorna Ellis

War, Water Bottles and Song


Explore our history timeline



As the Eisteddfod grows, three halls are needed to cater for the overwhelming interest in the competitions. Soprano Amy Castle’s vocal success at South Street soon sees the young singer on her way to singing fame in Europe. Her Majesty’s Theatre changes hands and its new owners commission leading Australian architect, William Pitt, to remodel the interior and improve the stage facilities.


Peter Dawson wins the Bass Solo section in South Street’s Senior Vocal Contest and goes onto international fame, singing at Covent Garden and touring Australia with another South Street diva, Amy Castles. It was Dawson’s version of Waltzing Matilda’ that catapulted our unofficial national anthem to fame in 1938, after which versions came ‘thick and thin.’

(Watch Peter Dawson’s Waltzing Matilda)

Future Prime Minister James Scullin also makes his mark by taking out a first in the senior debating competition.


Crowds line Lydiard Street to witness the return of Dame Nellie Melba from Europe, while the well-heeled were fortunate enough to purchase tickets attend her performance at Her Majesty’s Theatre.


A Grand Opera Contest is included in the Eisteddfod for the first time, with prizes presented by Dame Nellie Melba


The Right Honourable Andrew Fisher opens the competitions and Mr J Beswick is brought out from England to judge the Band Contest as increasing numbers of interstate bands travel to Ballarat to compete despite the war.

The Senior Vocal Championship is awarded to George Lemke and forges a long association between the Lemke family and South Street, while the competition goes from strength to strength.

The mammoth South Street Competitions show no sign of decay; in fact, judging by recent indications, there is no limit to the possibilities and achievements of this remarkable institution. The Society, taken as a whole, is an institution that aims at the moral and national advancement of the community, and is worthy of recognition at the hands of the citizens. (Ballarat and District Year Book, Ballarat Library, A.H. & R.J. Powell)


The Courier and Radio 3BA offer £100 as prize money for a Ballad Contest, which is introduced to the Senior Vocal Section.

Donald Bradman scores his first century.


A Barber Shop Quartet Section is added to the Music Hall Competition.


Ellinor Morcom, accompanist, teacher and mentor to many Royal South Street singers, is awarded an OBE.


Keeping pace with the times, new successful sections are added to the Competition’s program including Contemporary Choral and Modern Vocal Ensembles. A weekend Play Festival is also introduced with adjudicators Julian Oldfield and Peter Tullock.

The Mechanics Institute is used for the Brass Bands’ warm-up.

The Federal Minister for Arts, Senator Bob McMullan visits the Eisteddfod and a civic reception is held for Jason Wasley, Herald Sun Aria Winner.


Richard Bayly is awarded an Order of Australia for services to music and the Most Graceful Girl Competition celebrates a 70th birthday.

Dancing sections prove more popular than ever with two thirds of competitors travelling from Melbourne and the Courier Ballad is held in the Diocesan Centre due to an overwhelming number of entries.