Seventy years of showcasing local talent through eisteddfods in Inverell

Jenny Fox, Elizabeth Campbell and Errol Duck-Chong feature in this photo. Do you recognise anyone else in the photo?
Jenny Fox, Elizabeth Campbell and Errol Duck-Chong feature in this photo. Do you recognise anyone else in the photo?

Inverell’s 70th annual eisteddfod will commence on Sunday, June 17.

To mix things up for the huge milestone, music, speech drama and dance will all be held in the one week.

On Sunday evening the Sapphire City Concert Band, local choirs, open piano and vocal sections will be heard from 6.30pm.

Some guitar and speech items will feature throughout the night. The committee hope the early start will encourage more people down to support competitors.

A highlight will be the special 70th eisteddfod sections featuring music from the war years of 1939-1949.

Elizabeth Campbell, one of Australia’s leading mezzo soprano singers, was involved in the eisteddfod in the 50s and 60s when it was still a fledgling event.

She recalled it as being a big event for young people in those days. Although she remembers everyone being nervous, she believes preparation and performing opportunities were invaluable to her for her career as an opera singer.

“I learnt how to present myself on stage, acknowledge applause and accompanists and how to dress well. The eisteddfod gave a platform for young people’s emerging talents and a goal to work towards.

“I wish the eisteddfod a happy 70th and hope it continues to have community support,” she said.

Other well-wishers include former music teacher Errol Duck-Chong who taught at Inverell High School in the 1950s and Dwight Dowda who was involved as a young person with the elocution sections.

As a pupil of Joan Hockey, the elocution teacher, the eisteddfod was a highlight. The event was eagerly anticipated and the prospect of winning the priceless sum of one pound was a great enticement.

Dorothy Taylor, who still resides in Inverell, believes she actually performed at the first local eisteddfod as a very young girl.

She was involved in signing and remembers a very special section held in those days was the radio 2NZ section where selected students were able to sing over the radio and be judged by the adjudicator and she was given the honour of performing on radio.

A very special memory for Dorothy.

Programmes for the event are available at Syretts newsagents or at Craze Dancewear shop in the Country Fair Building in Sweeney Street.