Some last-minute practice in the back hall of the Salvation Army citadel are, from left, mum and accompanist Deborah Wray with
Some last-minute practice in the back hall of the Salvation Army citadel are, from left, mum and accompanist Deborah Wray with

Young performers in the spotlight

By JULIA ILES

A YOUNG girl sick with nerves fiddles with her ponytail as she watches children perform through glass doors.

She moves frequently to make way for people exiting from the hall after each performance as the afternoon session of the Grafton Eisteddfod continues at the Salvation Army Hall.

Two bright-eyed boys stand near her, conversing in whispers as they fill in forms.

"His name is Tarlinga, that's his only name, it's on his birth certificate," Cody Wallbank, a violinist, 12, said.

"I am playing the euphonium, we are doing a duet later on," Tarlinga, 13, said.

A euphonium?

"Everyone asks that, it's really just a small tuba ... the eisteddfod's great, I won $50 last year that I used to buy a music book," he said.

Inside the hall a simple wooden cross provides a backdrop for the performers.

Mothers, fathers and teachers accompany the Under-12 competitors on stage.

Casey Rogers positions her blue violin under her chin before she flawlessly plays the staccato and short Fairy March.

Dreams are made and broken.

Deborah Wray said the eisteddfod gave her children Lachlan and Sophia a wonderful chance to grow in confidence.

"It's great for my children to be on stage and they quite like competing, they are both very musical," she said.

The eisteddfod started yesterday and continues until Friday.

Nicholas Peterson, a violinist, 13, has already won two first prizes and wouldn't mind a few more.



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