Golden year for Taree and District Eisteddfod

Classical: Andrea Rowsell Academy of Dance students Sarah Saad, Shay Whitton, Chelsea Yarad, Samara Dun, Bethany Wamelink, Mikaela Beckett and Jett Shoesmith compete during the dance group weekend of the 2016 Taree and District Eisteddfod. Sixteen dance schools have entered in the 2017 eisteddfod.

Classical: Andrea Rowsell Academy of Dance students Sarah Saad, Shay Whitton, Chelsea Yarad, Samara Dun, Bethany Wamelink, Mikaela Beckett and Jett Shoesmith compete during the dance group weekend of the 2016 Taree and District Eisteddfod. Sixteen dance schools have entered in the 2017 eisteddfod.

It’s a golden year for Taree and District Eisteddfod and the committee has been working to ensure its 50th anniversary is a special celebration.

“Everything is falling into place quite well and we’ve got some exciting things happening,” secretary Margaret Rogers said.

This includes welcoming back five past Roma Liggins Perpetual Scholarship winners to perform at the grand concerts and a specially written composition to be played by competitors in a new section of the piano category.

The eisteddfod also has seen a spike in entries for the instrumental and dance sections.

It all kicks off on April 18 at the Tourist Information Centre with the vocal section.

It continues there until April 22 when vocal moves into the Manning Entertainment Centre for the open sections. The number of entries for vocal are on par with last year, said Margaret.

Next up, the piano section runs from April 28 to 30 and entry numbers are the same as last year.

Former Taree local and past winner of the Roma Liggins scholarship for piano Andrew Chubb has written a composition that will be played by all competitors in a new section.

Entries are “way up” on last year for dance with 2060 compared to 1984 in 2016. Sixteen dance schools have entered the group sections.

“We’re very excited,” Margaret said.

“It’s going to be a squeeze to get them all in. We might have to go up to another day next year.” 

The dance section has been split this year with the novice and groups scheduled from May 1 to 7 and the district and open sections between May 13 and 21.

It means the section will not clash with those undertaking their NAPLAN assessment at school.

Another boost in entries has been seen in the instrumental section (running from May 22 to 26), which has had to increase from three-and-a-half to five days in response.

“Co-ordinator Tanya Brown has an exciting Battle of the Bands on the evening of Thursday, May 25 and then there is a Casio digital piano competition on Friday, May 26 where everyone who has entered will go in the draw to win a digital piano.

“There’s also a concert band night.”

The speech and drama section is scheduled for May 29 to June 3.

“School entries are about the same but the solo entries are lower.”

Margaret said this was because the dates needed to be moved to later which had caused interference with some of the competitors who will be preparing for a play festival in Port Macquarie.

The last category to run is the school choirs over June 6 and 7.

“There are no high school entries this year,” Margaret said.

The two grand concerts will be presented at 2pm and 7.30pm on Saturday, June 17.

“We have five former Roma Liggins winners coming back to perform, including Andrew Chubb (piano), Nyssa Milligan (vocal), Keegan Gibson (instrumental), Michelle Yeates (speech and drama) and Kye Maurer (dance),” Margaret said.

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