Get ready for your year of creativity and performance opportunities in 2024 with Sydney Eisteddfod.

Thank You Volunteers

‘We can’t do what we do without you!’ That was the message from the Sydney Eisteddfod Thank You to Our Volunteers event at Chippen Street Theatre. Chair Max Holzner welcomed the volunteer and donor community and presented an afternoon of music and entertainment. 

With MC and singer Natalie Carboni, herself an Eisteddfod alumnus, the audience enjoyed a poetry reading by effervescent Highly Commended Verse Speaking entrant Arjun Thuvaraga, stunning singing by emerging artist and Contemporary Singer of the Year Sophia Markovic, an original song written and performed by her fellow entrant Jono Bass and Bellamy Stuart’s brilliant rendition of her winning piece from the Australian Poetry event. 

For the volunteers, it was a wonderful event to say thank you for their generous donation of time and present them with certificates for their service.

The event also celebrated Noel Cislowski AM’s contribution to the Sydney Eisteddfod, stemming from his early experiences as a successful performer in both voice and drama through to his ongoing passion and commitment to Sydney Eisteddfod as a generous donor, adjudicator, long-term member of the Board for 48 years, serving as Chair for five years and retiring in December 2022. Noel is a highly esteemed adjudicator of Music and Speech and Drama throughout Australia and New Zealand. 

Young and talented year 2 performer Arjun was so excited to perform in his first Sydney Eisteddfod. ‘I was so proud of myself because Sydney Eisteddfod is a big achievement – it’s for the big kids. I like reading poetry because it is like telling a story but instead you are bringing it for people to visualise in their mind. It’s a wonderful thing showing everyone your talent and how good you are! And in front of a lot of people you can see their big smiles!’

Year 12 student Sophia loved the opportunity to work on her craft. ‘It was the first time I had performed with a live band! But it was a friendly environment, and I felt safe there at the Petersham RSL.I would advise anyone if they were thinking about it to just go for it – share what you love with the world. It’s not all about winning a prize – you get so much out of the experience. You get to meet a bunch of people and make new friends and perform!

Kristina Beaton has been volunteering for well over 25 years, and loves working at the Ballet Championships, seeing and supporting the young performers. ‘I juggle a full time career in textiles and I just love working as a volunteer. We all come together as a team and succeed in keeping dancers safe and happy.’

The volunteers generously donate their time and take on tasks such as marshalling, ticket sales, venue assistance, helping children with their music and getting ready to go on stage. They also sit beside the adjudicator as session secretary and help them write and collate the results. Challenges range from broken pencils, participants not ready to come on stage, evacuations from storms and fire alarms!

Phoebe Calcutt has been volunteering for four years and says, ‘We are all here to help these children who may be future stars. We’re happy to do anything we can. I feel privileged to have the time to do that. My family have musical careers, and I want to help other children have this opportunity to do this. I like helping them through their nerves – its so gratifying to know that you can assist. 

Wendy Thurgate has been volunteering for three years.  She experienced North Queensland Eisteddfods, and wanted to make sure that the Sydney Eisteddfod survives and thrives. ‘I can always find the time! You will never regret volunteering, you benefit from it so much.’ 

Wrapping up her experience this year, Phoebe says: ‘We get as many benefits back as the performers do. There is so much satisfaction in giving!’

Photography: Dale Barrett

Interested in volunteering in 2024? We’d love to hear from you. 

Sydney Eisteddfod Home

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which our work and events take place. We celebrate and applaud the long, rich history of storytelling in song, dance, and voice. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging. We contribute to this continuity – developing and sharing our combined cultural journey through our activities on these lands where sovereignty was never ceded.