Richard Tank performs in the Queensland Eisteddfod at the Ipswich Civic Centre yesterday.
Richard Tank performs in the Queensland Eisteddfod at the Ipswich Civic Centre yesterday. Rob Williams

Eisteddfod voices ring out

ABOUT 500 choir members and 160 soloists from across the state will spend the Easter weekend competing at the 119th Heritage Queensland Eisteddfod in Ipswich.

The eisteddfod kicked off yesterday with vocal solos and choral performances, and will continue this morning with musical theatre and instrumental sets.

The Ipswich Civic Centre will host hundreds of performances from until the naming of the 2012 Champion of Champions tomorrow.

Last year's Champion of Champions Thomas Keenan celebrated his birthday yesterday and was looking forward to defending his title.

Mr Keenan will compete in numerous vocal and choral categories, and is also musical director of the Ipswich Orpheus Chorale and Eisteddfod Organising Committee president.

"My first eisteddfod was in 1991, so I've been performing in eisteddfods for more than 20 years," Mr Keenan said.

"This eisteddfod, my favourite category is probably the aria."

Mr Keenan said he would make a total of nine solo performances and three choir performances, and would direct four choral pieces if he were to make it to the finals this year.

"I'm hoping I'll be able to defend my title. I've been ill these last few weeks so hopefully I can get something out," he laughed.

Eisteddfod Council of Queensland president George Hogg said hosting the event was an honour for Ipswich.

"This event has attracted people from as far away as Gladstone," Mr Hogg said.

He said the Queensland Eisteddfod was an important part of the state's arts scene.

"It brings out the best in people and gives choirs and soloists something to work towards," Mr Hogg said.

He said local performers were fortunate to have the competition on their doorstep.

People can attend Queensland Eisteddfod sessions at the Ipswich Civic Centre today and tomorrow, with tickets starting at $5 per session.



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