Last week the Townsville Eisteddfod committee celebrated the dedication of its members, inducting three mainstayers as life members to recognise their decades of service.
Cheryl Elliott, Cheryl Smith and Ava Ball have each been a part of the committee for over 20 years, after first becoming involved by watching their children perform.
Cheryl Smith said the appeal of returning each year was seeing students continue performing.
“The reason I wanted to stay involved was to keep giving children the opportunity to perform in front of an audience,” Cheryl said.
“I’ve been retired from teaching for two or three years now but kids I used to teach still come up to me and say hello, and wave at me in the theatre while I’m pencilling for the adjudicator so I try to ignore them – I have to tell them all the time, ‘I’m not the judge, I just write what they say!’
“It’s the experience it gives kids that makes it more worthwhile than anything.”
Ava said she never imagined she’s remain part of the committee for so long.
“If someone said to me back when my little miss Kylie went on stage at six years old that I’d still be doing it to this day, I’d probably laugh at them,” Ava said.
“It’s pretty special, we didn’t start off to become life members and I didn’t realise we’d been around that long! Cheryl and Cheryl will have been around for about 25 and 23 years, and this will be my 22nd year.”
Cheryl Elliott said Eisteddfods were an important taster for local youth to experience performing in front of an audience.
“Often, Eisteddfods are the first times children have performed for any sort of crowd – and it’s a great way for them to have that experience with the support of people around,” Cheryl said.
“We also have people who have grown up performing in local Eisteddfods and who now have gone on to do great things like Kurt Phelan; Janette Mulligan, who is now part of the Australian Ballet; and Siobhan Patrick who’s now performing in Vienna. There’s lots that have come through after seeing it could be a possible career.”
The Townsville Eisteddfod celebrates its 69th event in 2018, with expressions of interest always open for volunteers to join the committee here. Eisteddfod entries close on 10 June, before the performances from 11-29 September.