About Us

The Adelaide Harmony Choir Inc. is one of the foremost large choirs in Australia. It was founded in 1947 by the late Lewis Dawe MBE and he remained its conductor until his retirement due to ill health in 1981.

John Hall OAM, previously the Choir's accompanist for thirteen years, succeeded Lewis Dawe as conductor in 1981 and led the choir until the end of 2007. Richard Chew took the position of Director of Music from January 2008 until September 2010. Rosemary Nairn OAM, was appointed as Music Director in September 2010.  Rosemary injected the choir with new energy and enthusiasm which was enjoyed by many, over our performances up to and including the choir’s Japan tour in April 2016.  Andrew Chatterton has taken on the role in May 2016 and once again the choir is enjoying new leadership and look forward to some successful performances with Andrew.

The choir is one of the largest in South Australia, with a membership of about 100. Its Patron is the Governor of South Australia and its Vice - Patron is the Elder Professor of Music at the University of Adelaide.

Since its inception the choir has built a fine reputation in the performance of oratorios and classical choral works. Its repertoire includes oratorios by Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Verdi, Elgar, Haydn, Walton, Britten, Rossini, Lloyd Webber etc. Its concert repertoire includes madrigals, motets, part-songs, spirituals, folk-songs, and opera choruses. It also performs excerpts from musical comedy and a wide range of sacred music.

Over the years the choir has been associated with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in studio broadcasts and choral concerts, with Australian and international conductors. It has also performed in many Adelaide Festival of Arts choral presentations.

In the competitive field, the choir has gained many first awards throughout Australia in choral competitions - the Adelaide Eisteddfod, the Royal South Street Ballarat Competitions, the Grand National Eisteddfod of Australia and the Choral Championship of Victoria.

In 1986 and 1996 the choir visited North America giving concerts in the United States of America and the West coast of Canada. It has also made many intrastate and interstate tours. These bring choral music to country centres and enhance the choral experience and camaraderie between the members. On several occasions it has performed in Canberra with the Canberra School of Music Choir and Orchestra and this group has reciprocated by performing with us in Adelaide.

In 1998 the choir performed an operatic staged version of Mendelssohn's great oratorio "Elijah". With principals from among South Australia's finest vocal talents and the magnificent voice of Phillip Langshaw in the title role the production was acclaimed. For example,
"The spectacle of the Adelaide Harmony Choir's realisation of Mendelssohn's Elijah mostly gripped from beginning to end....total professionalism from the leads and utter commitment from the masses, under John Hall the chorus shone, frequently sending the skin shimmering" - John Lanigan-O'Keefe, Opera Australia.

The choir is self supporting and is not funded by government grants. It therefore has complete freedom of choice in music, venues, soloists and supporting musicians and is able to perform concerts that appeal to both choristers and audience.

Each year the proceeds of some concerts go to charitable organisations and the choir makes annual appearances at an Adelaide hospice and a rehabilitation centre. It also funds two initiatives to assist the development of young singers - the Lewis Dawe Oratorio Prize for solo singers of oratorio at the annual Adelaide Eisteddfod, and a scholarship scheme which assists young members of the choir by waiving subscriptions and subsidising the purchase of music and choir uniform.

The "Friends of The Adelaide Harmony Choir", is an informal organisation of supportive people who, though not able to sing with the choir, wish to have a close link with it. This group performs voluntary services for the choir especially at concert venues.