Hundreds of performers have taken to the stage at Abermain Plaza Hall over the past two weeks for the 100th anniversary of the Abermain Eisteddfod.
The eisteddfod wrapped up with the vocal sections on Saturday and Sunday, with the dance sections contested the week before, and speech and drama held on September 15 to 17 – with 150 entries per day over the 10 days of competition.
It began in 1917 as a singing competition to aid the Abermain Methodist Church and eventually became an independent competition.
Abermain Eisteddfod secretary Catherine Parsons – who has been on the organising committee for 37 years – said the eisteddfod has been a stepping stone for many young performers.
Renowned opera conductor Brian Castles-Onion and Screaming Jets lead singer Dave Gleeson are among its alumni, while many former competitors in the dance sections have gone on to start their own dance schools.
“When I see the different teachers bringing their students to the Eisteddfod, I often think back to the time when these same teachers came to compete at Abermain for the first time as four or five-year-olds,” Mrs Parsons said.
“I always get a real thrill when I am watching TV or at a stage show and one of the Abermain performers are in the cast.”
Mrs Parsons said the Abermain Eisteddfod’s success has been largely attributed to the highly-qualified adjudicators who have given support and advice to the many competitors in the various sections.
“They have noted the high standard of competitors as a direct result of the excellent teachers who have given their students the skills to showcase their talent,” she said.
“The Abermain Eisteddfod success as a vehicle for performing arts is most definitely as a reflection of these teachers as well as the dedication of all those young and old competitors who have rehearsed and practiced for long hours to give of their best.
“I must also give credit for the longevity of the eisteddfod to our sponsors who have allowed the Abermain Eisteddfod to continue throughout the years and finally achieve this incredible milestone of 100 years.”
The Abermain Eisteddfod’s schools section also continues to drawn strong interest, with more than 2000 performers taking part in choir and individual sections at Mount View High School in August.
Mrs Parsons said the centenary event received strong support from entrants and sponsors.
“The standard has been extremely high and adjudicators have been impressed once again that the Abermain Eisteddfod has attracted so many talented competitors,” she said.
“As secretary and convener of the eisteddfod, I could not be more proud of these wonderful young people who have worked so hard to compete in this year’s eisteddfod.”
Each entrant was presented with a special medallion to commemorating the eisteddfod’s centenary.
A showcase of championship winners and some adjudicators’ choices will be held at the Abermain Plaza Hall on Sunday, October 8 at 2pm. Entry is $2.
A special book of stories and photos that was compiled for the eisteddfod’s centenary is available for sale. The book costs $20 and can be ordered by phoning 4930 8000.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: In July we invited readers to submit their photos from the Abermain Eisteddfod over the years. Take a look at the gallery here.