Drawing on enthusiasm – Eisteddfods

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WHEN new president Sylvia Tulloch took to the podium at Saturday’s program launch of the Australian National Eisteddfod, she threw out an unusual challenge to those present.

President Sylvia Tulloch
President Sylvia Tulloch

Why not, she suggested, ask people about their memories of Eisteddfods? She’s been doing it,  and had been surprised at how many people in the Canberra community remembered both the fun and the excellence of Eisteddfods. In a move calculated to reinvigorate both the National Eisteddfod and its infrastructure, she urged, “let’s draw on that enthusiasm in the community – let’s draw on those memories.”

Tulloch, a well-known scientist and businesswoman who, together with her husband Gavin, sponsored the National Aria for many years, was especially keen to resuscitate what had at various times been the Shell, the Qantas, and of course the National Aria. To that end, she said, the committee had persuaded singing teacher and soprano, Fleur Millar, to come on board in staging the aria again in 2015.

From the artistic side there was no shortage of enthusiasm, she was sure.

Twilight Jazz Band
Twilight Jazz Band

As guests arrived for the launch at Lyneham High School Performing Arts Centre, they were serenaded by the snazzy Ginninderra Wind Orchestra’s Twilight Jazz band. Most of them, we heard, had been to the school and had participated in Eisteddfods.

Tulloch spoke of the extraordinary lifelong influence of being involved in Eisteddfods. She herself had participated in the Brisbane and Sydney Eisteddfods as a girl and  remembered the experience of standing in front of an audience.

The business immediately at hand on Saturday was the announcement of details for entries into the band and choir sections.

Vice President Ben Green introduced Simon Best, a 2014 Australia Day award winner, who is overseeing the operational side of the event this year.

Best told those present that in the bands section alone, entries for which had already closed, there were 100 entries and 3000 individuals involved. He was especially pleased about the under 16 non-competitive sections of the bands section for this year.

The choirs section in August, with $18,000 in prize money, would place more emphasis on competition, as would the singing and piano sections. Speech and Drama would follow in September. Details of deadlines for entries are below.

The Australian National Eisteddfod was first held in Canberra in 1938. Over the past 76 years, the organisation has grown to offer a wide variety of performing arts opportunities in Bands, Orchestras, Instrumental, Choirs, Singing, Piano, Speech and Drama. With the aim of fostering the growth of confidence and self-esteem in performers of all levels and ages, it’s now calling on the community to get involved.

Entries for the Bands & Orchestras section, which runs from May 22-29, have already closed.  Entries for the Choirs section, running August 15-16, close July 4. Entries for the Singing section, running  August 26-29, close June 6, Entries for the Piano section, running   September 3-7, close July 11 and and Entries for the Speech and Drama section, running  September  8-10, Close July 4. For more information visit nationaleisteddfod.org.au and to confirm competition and closing dates contact  6249 7421 or info@nationaleisteddfod.org.au


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