Eisteddfod bling lined up and ready

We’re down to counting sleeps until the 2017 Federation Eisteddfod opens on Monday, August 21 and organisers have all the trophies sorted and lined up in order for this year’s talented recipients.

Organisers Fay McCowen and Christine Denis with the Pieper Family Trophy for dance, which will be presented for the first time this year.

Organisers Fay McCowen and Christine Denis with the Pieper Family Trophy for dance, which will be presented for the first time this year.

Adding to the stash for the first time is the Pieper Family Trophy for  the aggregate dance champion. Clare Pieper is a former Quotarian and has been involved since the eisteddfod’s inception in 1981. She again will be working tireless on the ‘music table’, organising the materials submitted by each entrant.

This year there’s been a phenomenal increase in the number of entries in the dance section with 530, nearly doubling those of the 2015 eisteddfod. Fay McCowen isn’t sure what has caused the increase, but thinks the overall prize pool of $2380 and $1500 in scholarships plus trophies and medallions may be an incentive, making the Federation Eisteddfod one of the richest around.

Often it comes down to what teachers are active in which disciplines in the region. While local entries are slightly down, others have been received from Armidale to the south, Grafton, Lismore, Alstonville and Casino to the east, Inverell, Goondiwindi and Inglewood to the west and Stanthorpe, Warwick, Gatton and Millmerran to the north.

The judges for each discipline hadn’t been announced before nominations closed on April 1, so the surge in dance nominations isn’t due to that factor. It can now be revealed that the dance sections will be adjudicated by Marilyn Morrison, an experienced judge and examiner with more than 21 years’ experience nationally and internationally.

Rob Christmas of Tamworth is judging speech, and Troy Castle from the coast will be adjudicating music.

The program had to be rejigged to accommodate the huge dance contingent, with the eisteddfod now running over six days and five evenings instead of the usual six days and three evenings.

The speech sections will be contested on Monday, the dance sections from Tuesday through to Thursday and Friday afternoon and evening, and the vocal and instrumental sections on Friday and Saturday mornings. 

Schools will be performing after morning tea on Friday, featuring choirs from The Sir Henry Parkes Memorial Public School, St Joseph’s Primary School, Wallangarra State School and Drake and Mingoola Public Schools.

Mrs McCowen’s fellow committee member Christine Denis said the program on Saturday will play out like a lovely concert with piano and song. Murray Hovey and daughter Mellissa Blum will also perform a trumpet duet while son-in-law Miles Blum will present a woodwind solo.

The eisteddfod concludes with light entertainment in Section 175: Musical Comedy or Light Opera. Local luminaries Caleb Moylan, Jan Ross, Malcolm Gamble and Chris Markham will be competing.

Entry to the Tenterfield Theatre is just $2 per session or $5 for the day, and it’s an ideal venue, Mrs McCowen said. Tenterfield Shire Council has generously donated the hire of the facility, and music master Barry Phillips will be in the control centre ensuring the acoustics are spot on.

The committee is already considering splitting the program for the 2019 eisteddfod with a week of dance sections during the September/October school holidays, preceded by the speech and music sections a week or two earlier. 

This may be the last opportunity to see all the sections together, so come along and enjoy the spectacle. A limited number of programmes are available at Sullivan’s Newsagency.

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