The 54th annual Taree and District Eisteddfod has made a triumphant return to the Manning Entertainment Centre this year, and it's absolutely marvellous to have them back.
With assistance from Taree on Manning Rotary club, COVID check-in procedures are in place and this well-loved annual competition is off and running for another year.
It kicked off this year with the vocal section, and we have been steadily serenaded all week with the dulcet tones of competitors both tiny and teenaged.
Last year was one of the first since the Manning Entertainment Centre opened over 30 years ago when we did not host the Taree Eisteddfod. Eisteddfod competitions all around the country (and indeed the globe) were cancelled due to COVID , and there was no indication then that they would resume in 2021. Thankfully, order has been all but restored, and the entrants are flocking back.
Annika Doolan (pictured) caught my eye as I was strolling through the foyer. A vision in white, Annika was preparing to compete in the "Song in Costume" section of Vocals, and she certainly looked breathtaking. The piece Annika was about to sing was Think of Me from Phantom of the Opera, and if her voice matched her costume she no doubt triumphed!
Other sections coming up in the eisteddfod include School Choirs, Piano, Dance, Speech and Drama, Instrumental and Bands, catering to a diverse array of talent in the local community and beyond.
There is also Starburst which is a new event to encourage participation in the performing arts by members of the community who require additional assistance, help or technology. The Starburst section is open to performers with visual, hearing, communication, cognitive, physical or learning disabilities, as well as those who are students from disadvantaged areas.
You can buy tickets to each section in the foyer of the Manning Entertainment Centre at the Eisteddfod ticket desk, which is run by friendly volunteers.
The program of sections is available online at tareeeisteddfod.com.au. The eisteddfod culminates in a Grand Concert on Saturday, June 5 at 2pm, presenting winners from each section, and the presentation of major awards. This concert is always very popular, as it showcases the creme de la crème of young gifted performers in the area who are inevitably superb.
You can book for the Grand Concert at theMEC.com.au or by phoning 6592 5466 during Box Office hours.