excellence is


Our Mission

To achieve excellence in the performance of choral music through exceptional musical training.
To enable individuals to realise their own potential for excellence.
To engage with our community and others in Australia and abroad through collaboration, commissioning of new works and performance excellence.

Our Organisation

The Australian Boys Choral Institute is the corporate and legal entity behind the training and performing groups of the Australian Boys Choir and The Vocal Consort.
The organisation is registered as a not-for-profit incorporated company limited by guarantee under Articles of Association.


The Board of the Australian Boys Choral Institute is elected by Registered Members at the Annual General Meeting oversees the affairs of the Institute.


Management is in the hands of the Artistic Director and the General Manager, who are assisted by the music and administration staff and a small army of volunteers.

Our Special People

Honorary Life Members

Appointment as an Honorary Life Member is the highest honour that the Australian Boys Choral Institute can bestow upon a member of the Choir community. Honorary Life Membership is recognition for someone who has made enormous contributions to the organisation and has consistently and steadfastly demonstrated their support for the Australian Boys Choral Institute.


The Hon Dr Kay Patterson
The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Ms Wilma Smith

Our History

The first rehearsal of the Australian Boys Choir took place on October 20th 1939, a little over one month after the outbreak of World War II. After some success with a choir at Toorak Central School, Vincent Kelly, a dedicated school teacher, began rehearsing with 28 boys at the Toorak Scout Hall. Annual summer trips began in 1940 and by 1947, there was a long waiting list to join the choir.

Following a successful tour to Tasmania in 1951, a branch of the choir was established in Hobart in 1952 and another in Adelaide in 1954, however since the 1960s the choir has largely operated from its base in Melbourne.

In 1971, the boys enjoyed their first overseas tour to Japan which lasted just over a month. Vincent Kelly was not well enough to journey with the boys and following his death in March 1972, Geoffrey Jones was appointed and remained Artistic Director until 1978. A necessary time of transition, Geoffrey led the choir in a strong program of concerts and tours including the annual Carols by Candlelight at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Recording was also a major focus in this decade.

A second overseas tour eventuated in 1976 when the choir was invited to help celebrate the American Bicentenary in Philadelphia.

Ian Harrison, a long-term friend and staff member of the choir, took over the reins as Musical Director when Geoffrey Jones retired at the end of 1978. Ian’s influence on the choir and repertoire was profound and long-lasting and included the introduction of Kodaly music training.

Taking over from Ian as Artistic Director in 1983, Noel Ancell was responsible for the formation of two additional choirs. The Junior Consort, later renamed the Kelly Gang (after the Choir’s founder) was a teenage group for boys whose voices had changed; and The Vocal Consort was an adult male ensemble with an independent concert and touring program (www.thevocalconsort.org.au). This career path from the youngest training groups through to The Vocal Consort, has remained a distinguishing feature of the Australian Boys Choral Institute.