The 50th Taree and District Eisteddfod is well underway at the Manning Entertainment Centre with more than 3000 competitors expected to perform over the 37 day event.
Growing from humble beginnings to become one of the biggest, and most highly respected, eisteddfods in country NSW, the event attracts some of the best adjudicators in the country and provides a stage for the stars of tomorrow.
Today there are six sections catering to the talents of performing artists competing in vocal, piano, instrumental/electric, speech/drama, dance and choirs.
Next week the dance sections begin and 2100 dancers will bring colour and coordination to the stage over a 16 day period. Novice and groups will kick things off starting with the under eights novice classical ballet solos.
“It is such good fun working with all the kids,” said assistant dance coordinator and eisteddfod secretary, Margaret Rogers.
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For 33 years Margaret coordinated the dance sections and has seen thousands of performances that have moved her in some way.
From the shy little three-year-olds in the Baby section who keep one eye on mum in the wings, to the 80-year-old realising a long-held dream to perform.
“I get blown away every year,” admits Margaret.
Margaret and the team of volunteers responsible for the smooth running of the eisteddfod take great pleasure in watching the progress of the competitors.
Margaret is now watching the children of the first competitors she saw perform back when she first started. It won’t be long and it will be the grandchildren.
Seeing them grow in confidence and skill is high reward for Margaret and the eisteddfod committee and they go out of their way to help nurture their performers.
This year the dance sections have been split to allow for Naplan so nobody misses out. A full week of dance will commence on May 1 ending with the huge group weekend when hundreds of dancers perform to a packed house. Dancing will resume again on Monday May 15.
This year the eisteddfod will also have two grand concerts on Saturday June 17.