Voices will echo across city
FOR Ipswich, hosting the 119th Queensland Eisteddfod over the Easter weekend is something to sing about.
Ipswich is where the State eisteddfod began in 1887.
The city's choirs and soloists are consistent winners at this premier event.
Eisteddfod Council of Queensland president George Hogg said 670 entrants, including 180 soloists, would perform at the Civic Centre from April 6 to 8.
"I competed when I was 13 years old, 63 years ago," Mr Hogg said.
"You realise you've got to produce your very best.
"You're going to be exposed to excellent competition.
"Choirs from Toowoomba, Caloundra, Brisbane, Esk and Gladstone will compete against four local choirs.
"Both the Blackstone Cambrian Choir and the Ipswich Orpheus Chorale have been crowned 'champion choir' on many occasions.
"This Easter weekend will see both societies compete with about 100 singers apiece, and the standard of singing is expected to reach great heights.
"The massing of the choirs on the Saturday night is always a highlight of the eisteddfod when they sing the great Welsh hymns."
Ipswich baritone Thomas Keenan will be fiercely defending his 2011 title Champion of Champions.
It was his eighth win as the state's highest-scoring contestant.
"I received some high marks," the Orpheus Chorale member said soon after his triumph.
"From one of the adjudicators I received one of the highest marks he'd ever given. I sang in six sections - had three wins, two seconds and a third."
Mr Hogg said the Queensland Eisteddfod gave young people an opportunity to compete with the best.
"It raises the standard of local performance," he said.
"A lot of young people have found it a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Some have worked professionally."
Both the choral and solo entries continue to increase.
"Eisteddfod is still very healthy. It's modernised and moved with the times," Mr Hogg said.
"The continuing support of Ipswich City Council as major sponsor of the event, together with the Heritage Bank, had ensured that Ipswich would retain its well-earned reputation as the cradle of the eisteddfod movement in Queensland.
"It is anticipated that the Heritage State Eisteddfod will not return to Ipswich for another seven years."
The annual eisteddfod is hosted by a different major provincial city each year. Three sessions will be held each day on Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Sunday - 8.30am, 1.30pm and 7pm.
The complete program is available at Richard Zande and Associates, Solicitors, 49 Ellenborough St.