ARARAT - The 58th Annual Ararat Eisteddfod will commence at the Ararat Performing Arts Centre this Sunday and will continue through until Monday September 30.
Eisteddfod organiser Chris Harris is pleased with the entries.
"Overall entry numbers have again surpassed last year as the eisteddfod continues to grow," she said.
"Although the vocal and piano entries are down slightly from last year, the dance entries have increased."
When local students take to the stage next week, they will be joined by students from all around Victoria as well as some entries from Mount Gambier. Many visitors will inundate the town over the next week with many booking into local motels and caravan parks, dining out at cafes, restaurants and hotels, visiting local tourist attractions or the movies and fitting in a spot of shopping alongside supporting their children while they perform during the eisteddfod.
The over 12 years vocal students will begin at 2pm Sunday and will perform in various items throughout the afternoon and evening, while the under 12 vocal students will have to wait until Monday morning to perform. This year in reviewing the items offered the committee added a championship section for vocal which will see six competitors perform two contrasting vocal items. This championship section has been named the Erma Kent Memorial Vocal Solo to honour Erma Kent who was a long standing secretary of the Ararat Eisteddfod.
The piano sections will begin Monday morning at 11.30am with the younger students and will be completed Monday evening with the highlight being the JM Forsyth Memorial Open Piano Solo. A strong contingent of pianists from Ballarat, Bendigo and Hamilton will join local students in these sections.
The adjudicator for the music sections will be Vicki Jacobs from Melbourne. Ms Jacobs is a noted musical director and pianist and has worked broadly in music and music theatre.
The vocalists are accompanied by Linda O'Brien from Melbourne, who is a highly sought after accompanist. Ms O'Brien has been part of the Ararat Eisteddfod for many years.
This year dance will commence on Tuesday morning at 9am and will run for seven days. The older students (12 and over) will compete over the first three days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) with the younger student (under 12s) competing on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
On Friday September 27 the Performing Arts Centre will be abuzz with excited students, teachers, parents and supporters witnessing the spectacular of the troupes during the afternoon and evening sessions. The popularity of these sessions has been enormous over the past few years so if you want to see these talented dancers in their group performances you will need to arrive thirty minutes prior to purchase your ticket for the sessions which will begin at 1.15pm and 6.30pm respectively. Tickets sell out quickly and you will have to queue!
The two local dance schools Dynamic Dance and Ararat Dance Centre will be well represented throughout both sessions competing against troupes from Ballarat, Beaufort, Bendigo, Terang, Cobden and Warrnambool and it would be great for them to have the support of the local community.
This year the committee decided to employ two dance adjudicators to manage the extra days of competition. Adjudicating the 12 and over students and the troupes will be Faye Johnson-Ross from Melbourne, who is well known for her involvement in VCE Dance. Ms Johnson-Ross is looking forward to coming to Ararat for the first time and will provide excellent critiques the students will be able to use to benefit future performances. Monique Fox-Walsh will also visit Ararat for the first time and will adjudicate the younger students over the final three days. She also looks forward to visiting Ararat and assisting the younger students with her critiques of their performances.
The Ararat Eisteddfod continues to grow both in numbers and strength and each year relies on generous support to run the eisteddfod. A major part of funding the eisteddfod comes from grants from the Victorian Government through Arts Victoria and from the Ararat Rural City through its Community Grant Program. Most regular volunteers have been contacted but if anyone would like to volunteer to assist for any session please call Chris Harris on 5352 1249 as more volunteers are always being sought.
"We are looking forward to another successful eisteddfod and invite the Ararat community to pop into the Ararat Performing Arts Centre from Sunday to pick up a program to find out when throughout the week they might join us to witness some of the outstanding talent, both local and visiting, who will hit the stage," Mrs Harris said.
"We invite all Ararat residents to be part of the 2013 Ararat Eisteddfod and show support for the arts in our community by encouraging and supporting young talent."