KEMPSEY'S Zoe Roberts was among those to dazzle at the Taree and District Eisteddfod Grand Concert at the Manning Entertainment Centre on Saturday.
The concert showcased the best of the 2021 eisteddfod in all of the sections.
Tenor Sam Elmi from Newcastle, who performed an aria from Tchaikovsky's opera Eugene Onegin, was the first to be presented with a cheque for $450 for being the vocal section's Roma Liggins Perpetual Scholarship nominee.
The other nominees awarded the $450 during the concert were Mahalia Adamson (dance) and Riley Brown (instrumental).
The piano section this year nominated two people, WenYuan Lim Schneider and Joshua Walraven.
At the end of the concert, the Roma Liggins Perpetual Scholarship trophy, and cheque for $1500, was awarded to WenYuan Lim Schneider.
Pianist Cameron Waugh was awarded on stage with a $750 Smile Scholarship, after performing a delicate rendition of Consolation Number Three by Franz Liszt.
There were 34 performances in all, with some coming from as far away as Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Forster/Tuncurry, Kempsey and Coffs Harbour.
"A lot of these people are so happy to drive such long distances, it's really amazing!" grand concert organiser, Gillian Herbert said.
Vocalist Cassidy Donovan was mesmerising with her performance of Burn from the musical Hamilton.
"When Cassidy Donovan sung she was smoking," vocal section coordinator Deirdre Sutherland said.
"I just saw this world class performer in front of us. To me, she had a golden aura all about her. I couldn't take my eyes off her."
"I just saw this world class performer in front of us. To me, she had a golden aura all about her. I couldn't take my eyes off her."Deirdre Sutherland
Other audience favourites were Coco Solomon dancing a jazz routine to Bye Bye Blackbird, Will Hellstedt who channelled Puck in his demi-character dance, classical guitarist Aidan Siddle playing Tango esta noche, Baran Zanjani on violin playing Spanish Dance, and WenYuan Lim Schneider, the last performer for the concert, playing Tokkata by Khachaturian on piano.
But by far the biggest and most raucous applause was given to Nathan Moore, accompanied by Matt Zarb, singing I'll Leave This World Loving You, with the Dundaloo Diamonds performing Morning Town Ride, again accompanied by Matt Zarb, being a close second in the noisy audience appreciation ranks.
Both Nathan and the Dundaloo Diamonds were competitors in the inaugural Starburst section for all abilities in the 2021 eisteddfod, which had 40 competitors in dance, vocal and instrumental.
"I was really happy with all of the performers," Gillian said. "We felt there was a high standard of performers chosen by each of the coordinators.
"I felt there was a nice variety. And I think there was a nice variety of really modern stuff, like the two people who did Burn from Hamilton, which was a nice contrast between that the the Chopin and Khachaturian - the more classical pieces.
"Overall I was really happy. It's always a panic for me and on the day I have to be in five places at once. I would have liked to have been in the audience, actually!"
During the concert, Taree and District Eisteddfod president Tim Stack took to the stage to thank the many volunteers who make the eisteddfod happen, the audience, patrons and sponsors.
"Without everyone working together, we don't get the entrants, especially the young ones, on stage, which is what we are all about," Tim said.
"I call our entrants 'athletes of the stage', as they apply the same work ethic and then, with courage, accept competition and an adjudicator's critique."
The last thanks went to to the entrants. "No you, no eisteddfod!" Tim said.