Taree and District Eisteddfod builds skills and bonds

For Tim Stack, who has been president of Taree and District Eisteddfod for 40 of the event’s 50 years, it is seeing the camaraderie build between competitors and the well wishes for each other that has been a highlight for him.

Speaking at the eisteddfod golden anniversary evening grand concert, he told of being backstage in the past and watching as a dancer came off, breathless, after her routine.

Another competitor who stood in the wings told her she had done really well. The other girl thanked her and wished her good luck. “That is what it is all about,” he said.

Two grand concerts were held on Saturday June 17 at the Manning Entertainment Centre to celebrate the milestone year.

Tim thanked the community and supporters of the eisteddfod.

“It is you the community that has shouldered us to this point.

“The eisteddfod committee programs the event and then the competitors, teachers, families, schools, supporters, media, sponsors, volunteers, ushers and audiences bring it to life. And what a wonderful life we have had over these 50 years – still young, as each year of the eisteddfod brings a new group of young competitors onto the stage who know and understand their own strengths and gifts. Who appreciate the gifts in others. Who use their gifts for enjoyment and above all share their gifts.”

The 2017 eisteddfod ran for 37 days and the grand concerts featured outstanding performances from across all sections.

Also invited to perform were former winners of the Roma Liggins Perpetual Scholarship, pianist Andrew Chubb, vocalist Nyssa Milligan, guitarist Keegan Gibson and dancer Kye Maurer.

Tim took time to thank all those involved with making the eisteddfod the success that it is.

“The eisteddfod, in so many ways is about learning life skills. Our competitors practice a craft they are good at, with others, and receive a judgement and then keep on with it. In life we should wake up each day and think of one good point about ourselves and one not so good – during the day amplify your good point and minimise the not so good –  and share this with your mates. Then before too long you will become just like all here, simply perfect.”

Rylee wins Roma Liggins Perpetual Scholarship 

Speech and Drama entrant Rylee Parry from Port Macquarie has won Taree and District Eisteddfod’s coveted Roma Liggins Perpetual Scholarship, valued at $1500.

The announcement was made to a very surprised and speechless Rylee, following her moving dramatic performance at the evening grand concert of Big Brother, a monologue from ‘Cooking with Hamlet’.

She was presented with her award by Speech and Drama co-ordinator Rhonda Evans.

“For the past 10 years Rylee has won many first places as well as numerous encouragement awards as a promising Speech and Drama competitor,” she said.

“She has won each of the championships throughout the years: Junior Champion 12 years and under, Junior Dramatic Champion 14 years and under twice, Intermediate Champion 16 years and under, Senior Champion 23 years and under.

“For the past six years she has also won the point score trophy for a student outside the local area when she has amassed so many points that no one else has a hope of catching her!

“Last year as well as winning two championships she was also awarded a Smile Scholarship. This year she was awarded the NIDA Scholarship which enables her to attend NIDA for a week in January to study a particular aspect of drama that interests her,” said Rhonda.

Roma Liggins was a Taree Municipal Council and then Greater Taree City Council alderman who was heavily involved in the campaign for the construction of the Manning Entertainment Centre. ​

The Perpetual Scholarship in her name was spearheaded by the MEC Committee, led by then chairman Graham Brown, who wanted to do something in her honour.

They contributed funds for a few years before the eisteddfod took it on and built it from there. It is paid directly from the eisteddfod’s funds.