The music section of the Gunnedah Eisteddfod finished with a bang on Saturday.
The busy week wrapped up with the Choral Championship, with Carinya Christian School Tamworth (primary) taking first place, followed by Carinya Christian School Tamworth (secondary) and the Blenders.
The Piggott Family Award for most promising vocalist (primary) was Emily Tinn and the secondary winner was Sara Dear. The open trio or quartet was won by the Blenders, with Blenders two winning the open vocal ensemble.
Music section co-convenors Marg Amos, Trish Studdy and Judy McGowan said they were disappointed with the lack of competitors in the open choral section “however, the quality was of a very high standard”.
“The Pigott Family Award finalists in primary and secondary displayed an outstanding standard of talent with very entertaining performances,” the co-convenors said.
“The standard was very high [in the school sections] with credit going to the teachers and costume makers.”
The co-convenors said overall, entry numbers in the music section are “growing in most areas, which is very encouraging”.
“It was lovely to see many younger performers performing for the first time in an eisteddfod [in vocal and piano] and encouraging to see an increase in the number of boys who are competing and really enjoying their singing or piano playing,” they said.
Music section adjudicator Luke Byrne said his time in Gunnedah was “good fun”.
“[Overall], the quality of what was presented and the commitment - it was obvious the time spent on it,” he said. For musicians and conductors - who are effectively experts a lot of the time - it’s not just a matter of enthusiasm. They’ve spent the time on it. All the way down to the fabulous costumes in the primary section - they were a bit of highlight as well,” he said.
“I was very pleased to see the number of kids involved and especially how many boys were doing it because we always want a good representation across the board.
“I also really appreciate the same kids coming back again in different sections… They’re obviously getting a great range of opportunities and thanks to their teachers and parents are getting a lot of exposure to these things.”
Mr Byrne said he enjoyed the vocal section and said there were “a lot of great singers” but Molly Owen from Quirindi was “outstanding”.
“She had great confidence and she was a really engaging performer,” he said.
“If I had to nominate one particular section [as a highlight], it would be the most promising section… They’re doing challenging repertoire, they’re performing at a high level and it was a tough one to adjudicate but it was a real pleasure to hear them.”
The adjudicator was also very impressed by 11-year-old Gunnedah boy Oscar Donogue who competed in piano.
“He’s been learning for less than two years but he has a real feel for jazz and old-fashioned swing music and to only be learning for a little while and he was a country kid in his flannie and his jeans and he got up and played like a gun. I think he’s going to be fantastic,” he said.
Mr Byrne said he wanted to make a “special mention” of GS Kidd Memorial School.
“The benefit to those students and the benefit to the other school students for them to be part of it all and to see what that’s like and to see what life might be like for kids less able than themselves, I think that’s a very important part of the eisteddfod and a laudable initiative,” he said.