Eisteddfod builds confidence in bands

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Canberra City Band… performing at the 2018 National Eisteddfod.

THE Australian National Eisteddfod, one of the largest and longest running performing arts ventures in town, has a mission to promote participation in the performing arts, says bands and orchestras convener Simon Best. 

By encouraging an inclusive environment, which can foster the growth of confidence and self-esteem in performers of all levels and ages, the focus has always been on children and young adults, with more than 5000 people performing at Eisteddfod events in August and September each year in the areas of choir, singing, piano and speech and drama.

The first event to be run this year features bands and orchestras, where more than 2000 people in 87 groups will perform in school, concert, jazz and brass bands, orchestras and instrumental ensembles. It is one of the largest musical happenings in the Canberra musical year from the perspective of community involvement.

“Again we are particularly pleased at the level of participation from Canberra schools, as well as the continuing interest from local community bands and interstate groups”,  Best says.

“This year Canberra groups will be joined by school-aged bands and orchestras from the Hunter Valley, Orange, Jindabyne and Young.

A highlight will be the “open sections” for concert and brass bands, held on Friday night, May 31, when local and interstate bands, including Canberra City Band, Ginninderra Wind Orchestra, Canberra Brass and Victoria Street Brass, John Agnew Band, Tuggeranong Valley Band and South Canberra Youth Wind Orchestra, as well as three groups from the Hunter Valley, will compete for prizes.

“It is always a fascinating night of high-quality music,” Best says, explaining that each session will conclude with comments by specialist adjudicator Warwick Tyrrell, and the presentation of awards.

School-aged sections are non-competitive, with each group receiving a gold, silver or bronze attainment award based on their performance. A handful of platinum awards to recognise outstanding performances gives groups something in particular to aim for. The adjudicator will be one of Australia’s most accomplished and inspirational musicians. Warwick is an outright winner of the International Trombone Competition and has been a concerto soloist all over Australia as well as in England and South Africa. He has extensive experience adjudicating Eisteddfods and other youth music festivals.

The Australian National Eisteddfod, Bands and Orchestras, Llewellyn Hall and Lyneham High School’s Performing Arts Centre, May 30 to June 4. Timetable and bookings at nationaleisteddfod.org.au. But tickets are also available at each venue on the day.

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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