The Narrabri Arts Eisteddfod kicked off last week, with the music section beginning on Monday, May 24.

This program ran for three days, featuring a special masterclass for senior high school students by this year’s adjudicator Neil Roche-Kelly.

Narrabri High School music teacher, Stephen Bailey, was most impressed.

“The masterclass Neil did with the HSC students on Tuesday afternoon was fantastic, one of the best I have been to,” he said.

“Neil was very positive in his approach yet gave excellent constructive comments that I know the students took on board.”

Mr Roche-Kelly welcomed the positive feedback and thanked this year’s competitors for such wonderful performances.

“I’m so glad that I was able to assist,” he said.

“For my part, I found the HSC sessions a wonderful addition to the programme and a refreshing change of pace for the adjudicator.”

“Having seen their work, the schools are obviously in good hands with the music teachers in the region and that level of nurturing and encouragement,” Mr Roche-Kelly said.

He also commented that he was delighted to adjudicate this year’s eisteddfod.

“It is the sense of community from committee to competitors and audience which makes me enjoy very much the opportunity to visit an area such as Narrabri and adjudicate, and that was very evident throughout this week,” he said.

“I’m quite impressed by this year’s performances across the board, the students were all very well-prepared.”

After a range of vocal, woodwind, brass, piano, band, bowed instrument, guitar and percussion performances, the music program concluded on May 26.

The dance section of the eisteddfod then came next, covering the weekend from Friday, May 28 to Sunday, May 30.

A strong representation of dancers from Tamworth, Inverell and Gunnedah joined local competitors, as well as participants from as far as Port Macquarie, Singleton and Muswellbrook.

For the dance performances, adjudicator Dane Erbacher travelled from Sydney.

Similarly to the music adjudicator, Mr Erbacher was impressed by the 2021 Narrabri Arts Eisteddfod.

“The Crossing Theatre venue was excellent, and the event was run very efficiently,” he said.

“The dancing expertise made for such a competitive eisteddfod, which is great to see.”

Mr Erbacher also said that competing at events like this is important for young creatives.

“Dancing at an eisteddfod, like Narrabri, gives performers the chance to experience what it is like to perform in a real theatre on a big stage to help overcome their stage fright – the more times you do it, the less scary it is,” he said.

“It was an absolute pleasure working with the team at Narrabri Eisteddfod.”

The competition is currently undertaking the final section, speech and drama, with adjudicator Jill Tucker from Sydney.

The Narrabri Arts Eisteddfod is set to wrap up this Thursday, June 3, after nine days and three nights of performances.

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