SPEAKING UP: An anxious wait for Ballandean State School students in the Individual Recitation in Italian section.
SPEAKING UP: An anxious wait for Ballandean State School students in the Individual Recitation in Italian section. Shane Andersen Photography

Performers on a high

DADS peered anxiously through glass doors as daughters danced and took small costume-clad boys in hand as they left after a day of performing. From eight in the morning until sunset, they tapped across the stage, held violins aloft and recited poems in Italian but after ten days, the Border District Eisteddfod came to a close.

Eisteddfod president, Rebecca Telfer said she was 'very happy' with the event.

"A lot of places are losing their eisteddfods,” she said.

"I feel this one is here to stay.”

This year's event included two records, with the number of performers up to 433, an increase of 33 from last year and an extension of the dance program to 47 hours, up from 33 in 2018.

There were 1158 section entries involving 433 performers, as many entered several events.

Mrs Telfer said it was pleasing to see the Italian recitation sections increase in number with 25 individual entries. She described the section as a 'tradition' that stemmed from the large number of Italian families in the area. Italian is taught in a number of schools, including St Joseph's primary school and both the state primary and high schools.

"It is really dependant on the support of local schools,” she said.

"If the schools don't embrace it, the kids don't come.” Mrs Telfer said the recitation sections were important to develop confidence and public speaking skills in students, with some as young as preps delivering poems that lasted 30 seconds.

"It is the act of getting up in front of strangers and speaking,” she said. "It's not just about remembering a poem.”

Music also hit the highs with 112 entries in the instrument apart from keyboard sections and 43 in the keyboard sections.

And the show could not have gone on without volunteers, with 33 people helping out for dance and 15 for drama.

"It's a fun event to be part of,” she said.

"There are big jobs and little jobs and we hope other people put their hands up to help out in future years.”

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