Organist Frosa Tzannes Bell is stepping back onto the Taree and District Eisteddfod stage after more than 30 years and she says it’s all thanks to her former student, Tanya Brown.
Tanya is the co-ordinator of the instrumental section, which starts at the Manning Entertainment Centre on Monday, May 22.
“I became an organ student of Frosa’s in 1984,” said Tanya. “We shared plenty of eisteddfod performances together up until 1991.”
This year Frosa will be the competitor as she enters the Adult Instrumental Solo Section and performs with Tanya and her family as a part of the Manning Valley Concert Band in the Concert Band Championships, all on Monday night.
The last time she competed at the eisteddfod was when she was 17.
“It’s all feeling like de-ja-vu!” said Tanya. “Frosa is performing an arrangement of a song that she taught me back in 1986!”
For Frosa, her step back into music has reignited a passion. “I’m excited. I’m getting a little bit nervous but I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time.
“Being the 50th anniversary of the eisteddfod I thought, it’s now or never. But it’s because of the encouragement from Tanya that I’m doing it.”
Frosa started learning the organ from teacher Richard Crook as a five-year-old and went on to become a teacher herself.
Music took a backseat once she had children.
“When you’re married with three young children you put everything you have into your family. My children are now all grown up and I’m picking up where I left off.”
She moved to Newcastle with her family and returned to Taree about four years ago, reconnecting with Tanya.
It was Tanya’s encouragement that saw her start playing again.
Frosa has since joined the Manning Valley Concert Band and earlier this year performed in the Spotlight on Taree Arts Council showcase.
Frosa is also a big supporter of Tanya’s, pencilling at last year’s instrumental eisteddfod, which Tanya was co-ordinating for the first time, and helping with the Rotary Manning Valley Schools Spectacular.
She hopes that by stepping forward she can encourage others, no matter their age or talent, to give the eisteddfod a go.
“There’s no age barrier. I’m 52 and haven’t done an eisteddfod since I was 17. It’s a big step for me and it’s enlightening my life.
“The fact that I’m getting on there and having that moment to do what you used to do over 35 years ago and have my ex-student supporting me is a blessing.”
She’s also received plenty of support from her family and friends.
“I’m having a ball and I’m having a laugh. I love it”.