Dr Helen Lancaster, chairwoman of the Music Council of Australia, is a judge at the eisteddfod this year.
Dr Helen Lancaster, chairwoman of the Music Council of Australia, is a judge at the eisteddfod this year. Allan Reinikka

Judge too felt stage fright

DOCTOR Helen Lancaster remembers her first eisteddfod as a “horrible experience”.

At seven, she was “terrified” when she crept onto a stage in northern New South Wales to give her first performance.

Fortunately, her later experiences were better and today she is an accomplished musician, chairwoman of the Music Council of Australia and music education consultant.

She judges at one eisteddfod a year and this year has chosen Rockhampton.

On Thursday she began a nine-day stint at the performance arts competition, critiquing violin solos and jazz ensemble performances.

Dr Lancaster said she always kept her first time in mind when giving feedback on today's performers.

She said it was “really important” students relaxed during their performances and enjoyed the experience.

“This is not a test, this is sharing what we have been rehearsing,” she said.

She said the string solo performers had “really good potential” with good posture.

“They are playing well and seem to be enjoying what they are doing.”

She said as a judge she attended three sessions a day and had to maintain a high level of concentration while remaining consistent with her scoring.

“It's (the sections) all different and there's not one I don't like.

“This is what I do for fun. I'm too busy to do too many,” she said.

This eisteddfod, held at the Pilbeam Theatre and Walter Reid Cultural Centre, concludes on May 28 with the Community Gala Concert featuring the major bursary winners.



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