THE Shoalhaven Eisteddfod is celebrating 30 years of music and will again showcase local talent from Wednesday.
The festival grew from a one-day event to the four-week extravaganza it is today and now stages 150 competitive sections.
In 1986, there were just 40 competitive sections.
Kiama MP Gareth Ward, who competed in the Shoalhaven Eisteddfod at just five years of age, said he noticed the size of the eisteddfod dramatically increase from when he and his family competed from 1985.
“The most touching thing for me to see is the Stars of the Eisteddfod section move to the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre,” he said.
“We have an ever-growing tapestry of talent and musical skill and artistic ability [in the Shoalhaven].”
Mr Ward won many sections including vocals, violin, recorder and public
“Music is very important to my family, we all played instruments,” he said.
Mr Ward’s mother, Margaret Bowcher from Bomaderry, sorted through clippings and photographs of young Gareth at the eisteddfods and stumbled across a photograph from his performance of Oliver, which saw him win the under-16s vocal section.
“I started the Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra for my boys really because there was nothing else here,” Ms Bowcher said.
Under the presidency of Edna Walker, the Shoalhaven Eisteddfod continued to grow in size and in quality with entries exceeding 1000 in the vocal, dance, speech and drama and instrumental sections.
Over 1500 people of all ages competed for trophies and the prize money exceeded $8000.
Shoalhaven Eisteddfod president George Windsor has been involved with the organisation since 1997 and to celebrate its milestone, he and his daughter revamped the website.
“It’s now very user friendly, I’m very proud of it,” Mr Windsor said.
For more information on the Shoalhaven Eisteddfod or to get
involved, visit the website www.shoalhaveneisteddfod.org.au.
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