Molly Stewart on stage at the 2014 McDonald’s Sydney Eisteddfod. Photo: WinkiPoP Media
Last year, Woonona songbird Molly Stewart competed in vocal events at Sydney Eisteddfod for the fifth consecutive year. On all five occasions, she collected medals in the Song from a Musical, Music Theatre category, and last year in her final performance in the 15 & under age group, she scored her biggest success ever by winning the Sydney Eisteddfod Junior Singer of the Year title.
Molly discovered the joys of singing early in life, and at 10, played the title role in The Arcadians Theatre Group production of Annie. She enjoyed this experience, and a few months later, put her vocal skills test at the 2011 Sydney Eisteddfod. She made her first appearance in the classical singing category and was amazed when she finished in third place with the bronze medal. A few days later, she performed in two contemporary events, and after placing second in the Vocal Performance (11 years), she took top honours in the Song from a Musical/Music Theatre for that age group.
In 2012, Molly returned to Sydney Eisteddfod and began by winning two classical events for singers aged 12 and under. That year, with one of her favourite role models Lucy Durack judging the junior contemporary program, she mounted the platform feeling excited and nervous. She was thrilled when she won the silver medal for Vocal Performance, plus a gold in the Song from a Musical/Music Theatre category and treasures the report in which Ms Durack describes her as ‘a girl after her own heart who would one day take her roles.’
Since then, Molly has won another six medals at Sydney Eisteddfod, including one she is especially proud of for Song & Dance. With her heart set on making her career in musical theatre, she enjoys nothing more than performing, but ruefully admits things do not always go her way. She recalls a night when the adjudicator’s table collapsed just as she started to sing and another time when she dropped the microphone on her foot while hitting a high note. ‘It hurt,’ she recalls, ‘but somehow I kept on singing.’
Molly particularly enjoys performing in the cabaret atmosphere at Petersham RSL Club where she has sung in the final round of Sydney Eisteddfod Junior Singer of the Year three years in a row. ‘It’s so exciting,’ she says, ‘Photos of the finalists appear in the program, and as we are introduced by name instead of a number, it makes us feel like stars.’ Molly had the time of her life at this venue last year, when she proved there was truth in the old saying ‘third time lucky’ by claiming the coveted title. On that occasion, Michael Lavine, who is well known in American music theatre circles, assisted adjudicators Francine Bell and Dan Barnett in the task of choosing a winner. Appraising the event, Mr Lavine applauded the overall standard, and said he found Molly’s performance ‘captivating from the very first note.’
Following this victory, Molly enjoyed an unexpected engagement, when Sydney Eisteddfod invited her to sing under its banner at the Mayor of Parramatta’s Christmas Concert. Hard working and equally gifted, Molly is saving the money she won at Sydney Eisteddfod towards the trip to New York and London that she plans to make when her schooldays are over. Having played Rumpleteazer in Cats, Martha in The Secret Garden and Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast in school productions, she has plenty of stage experience and is looking forward to appearing as Glinda in The Wizard of Oz later this year.
On finishing school, Molly hopes to study music theatre at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. Having watched her development over the past five years, Sydney Eisteddfod takes pride in her achievements and hopes her dreams comes true.