Benchmark - Australian Seniors Gold Medalists Barbershop Quartet
A Capella singing in the Barbershop Style

About Benchmark

Left to Right:  Paul Roussell, Derek Cosburn, Tom Percy, Ray Smyth (see biographies below)
Benchmark is Australia's Gold Medal Seniors barbershop quartet, based in Queensland, Australia.  We love singing "a capella" four-part harmony, usually based on the barbershop style.  We do our best to entertain our audiences with both toe-tapping up-tunes and heart-rending ballads. 

Formed in 2008, we have competed in such events as:
  • Australia’s Got Talent 2011:  Benchmark reached the Grand Final, placing us in the top 10 acts Australia-wide (out of over 3,000 acts that auditioned)
  • Barbershop Harmony Society International Seniors Contests:  Benchmark represented Australia twice (Tampa 2010 and Las Vegas 2011), coming as high as 7th in the world.
  • Pan Pacific Barbershop Championships: 
    • Hawaii 2009:  Silver medal - Seniors
    • Brisbane 2011: Gold Medal - Seniors
  • Australian (AAMBS) National Championships:
    • Hobart 2009:  Gold Medal – Seniors
    • Brisbane 2011:  Gold Medal – Seniors
    • Perth 2013:  Gold Medal - Seniors
  • AAMBS Sunshine Region Championships:  Each year, the Sunsine region of AAMBS (Australian Association of Male Barbershop Singers) runs a local contest.  All choruses and quartets seeking to compete nationally must qualify here.  Here's how Benchmark has done:
    • 2008:  Won the Gold Medals in both Seniors and Open classes (no quartet had ever won both Seniors and Open before)
    • 2009:  Won the Gold Medals in both Seniors and Open classes
    • 2010:  Won the Gold Medals in both Seniors and Open classes
    • 2011:  Won the Gold Medals in the Seniors class and Bronze in the Open class
    • 2012:  Won the Gold Medals in both Seniors and Open classes again.
    • 2013:  Won the Gold Medal in the Seniors class and came 4th in the Open class
    • 2014:  Won the Gold Medals in the Seniors class and Bronze in the Open class, with Tom Percy as Bass
    • 2015:  Won the Gold Medal in the Seniors class again, with Tom Percy returning as Bass
See our Contact Us page if you would like us to come and sing at your event.
Benchmark Biographies

Here are some interesting facts about the members of Benchmark:

Derek Cosburn - Lead

  • Gold Coast’s first “Flim Flam Man”
  • Member of the Dream World quartet called “The Dream World Four”.
  • Instrumental in starting the first men’s chorus in NZ South Island called “The Canterbury Plainsmen”
  • 1991 – Gained a Quartet Gold Medal in Australia’s first National Competition
  • 1992 – Represented Australia at USA International Competition in “The Sentimentals” open quartet
  • Multiple Medals in the Regional, National and Pan Pac competitions in the “Open Quartet” section with quartets such as “Soundworx” and “Crossroads”
  • Three National Senior Gold Medals in quartet “Cordial Exchange”
  • Placed 6th, 7th and 10th at three International Seniors Quartet competitions in the USA
  • Recognised as and an active coach of male and female quartet’s and choruses
  • A qualified Singing Judge and judged the Australian Barbershop Championships in Sydney Sep 2007
  • Sings lead and is a vocal coach with “The Blenders” chorus.


Ray Smyth – Baritone/Tenor

  • TV debut as a 10 year old (1960) on QTQ 9 Channel Niner’s Show performing “Singing The Blues”
  • Member of BTQ Channel 7 singing/dancing backup troupe on the George Wallace “Theatre Royal” live TV variety show every Friday evening as an 18/19 year old (1968/69)
  • Classical singing training from leading conservatorium coach and member of the Qld Theatre Company
  • Regular Brisbane club/hotel singer/compere/entertainer from 19 to 23 year old
  • Resident vocalist at Daydream Island (Great Barrier Reef) for approx three months as a 21 year old
  • Retired from professional singing in 1973 at 23 years old to focus on Uni studies, career and family.
  • 1997 – Commenced barbershop as a bass with the Brisbane “River City Clippers” chorus singing all four parts in Chorus competitions over the next five years
  • Regional Silver & Bronze Medallist singing Tenor in quartet “Sound Investment”
  • 2004-6 – sang “Second Bass” with the prestigious Queensland Choir singing many major classical works
  • Joined “The Benders” chorus in 2007 and was bass section leader for their performance at the Barbershop International competition in Denver USA and their successful defence of the Australian Titles in 2007.
  • Training to be a Presentation Judge for the Australian and New Zealand Barbershop Association.
  • A past member of “The Blenders” chorus music team and a past Tenor section leader.
  • Joined Sound Connection chorus as a founder-member


Paul Roussell – Tenor/Baritone

  • Commenced singing over 50 years ago as a boy soprano
  • Understudy for leading boy soprano in “A Unicorn For Christmas” (for HRH Queen Elizabeth II)
  • Founder Member of the Bach Choir of Wellington while at University in 1968 & sang in many choirs
  • Sang the Verdi’s Missa de Requiem in a choir of 3,000 singers in the Arena de Verona.   There were two concerts with each audience over 20,000.  Tenor soloist: Luciano Pavarotti
  • 1992 – commenced barbershop as a baritone and joined the Harbour Capital Chorus in Wellington, New Zealand and was a member there for 12 years
  • Member of three top quartets in Wellington: Down Under Alliance, Capital Alliance and Vocal Accord.
  • 1998 – Gained a Bronze Medal in the Open Quartet competition of the Pan Pacific Championships
  • 2000/2 – Sang baritone with the Brisbane “River City Clippers” chorus
  • 2001 – Regional Silver Medal singing Baritone in quartet “Sound Investment” (with Ray Smyth)
  • Joined “The Benders” in 2007 and sang baritone with them at the Barbershop International competition in Denver USA and their successful defence of the Australian Titles in 2007.
  • Qualified in 2009 as a Music Judge for the Australian and New Zealand Barbershop Association.
  • Past member and Vice President of Music with “The Blenders” chorus.
  • Joined Sound Connection chorus as a founder-member


Tom Percy - Bass

  • A Barbershopper for over 34 years
  • Three times Gold Medal Quartet winner in the UK  with 'Par Four'...'On Spec'...'Chordial Exchange'….
  • Founder Member, bass section leader, and Chorus Director for three years of The Rainy City Chorus, Gold Medalists 1992….
  • Founder and Director for ten years of The Crystal Chords Ladies Barbershop Harmony Club….
  • Founder Member of Just Midnight, Liverpool based Mixed Harmony Group….
  • Also sang in Amateur Operatics, played the Town Councillor in The Music Man three times, and a big Gilbert and Sullivan fan.  Loves Tom Lehrer too, especially "Poisoning Pidgeons in the Park"
  • Immigrated to Australia in September 2007 and joined Benchmark in April 2008.

Mark Penman - Bass

  • Mark established a successful career as a freelance singer after studying music at UQ in the 1980’s. Mark was a principal artist with Opera Queensland before moving to Sydney to sing full time with Opera Australia in 1997. 
  • He has performed many times with the Qld Symphony Orchestra, the Qld Theatre Company, Qld Philharmonic Orchestra, the Brisbane Biennial and the Qld Arts Council. His most recent operatic role was as the Marriage Commissioner in Madama Butterfly (2009) for Opera Qld.
  • Mark has also performed Broadway and operetta in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne including personal favourites Hello Dolly, The Pirates of Penzance, Annie The Musical, Kiss Me Kate, The Student Prince, The Music Man and Die Fledermaus. He has toured throughout Queensland, Australia, S.E. Asia and the USA with various singing groups.
  • For the last six years he has also been working as a Registered Music Therapist in aged care. He has developed a highly successful program with groups and with individuals who are socially isolated. Clinical outcomes include improved well being, self expression, social interaction, cognitive stimulation, improved memory and anxiety reduction. Mark utilises songs familiar to this population together with humour, parody, dancing and exercise.
  • Mark is also a gold medal winning barbershop singer, having won gold at the Australian Championships with Southern Cross in 2000. One personal highlight of Mark’s life as a singer was the honour of singing the National Anthem at the State Of Origin at Lang Park on the final night before redevelopment to Suncorp Stadium. Mark has four daughters all of whom are singers and musicians.
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