About the Hamilton Eisteddfod

Contact Details

The Committee can be contacted via this email address: enquiries@hamiltoneisteddfod.org.au

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General Information

The Hamilton Eisteddfod takes place annually and provides an opportunity for musicians and dancers to perform in front of an audience and to have that performance assessed by professional adjudicators of the highest calibre in their respective fields.

The Eisteddfod is held at the Performing Arts Centre, Brown St., Hamilton. There are usually three sessions of approximately three hours duration on each day of the Eisteddfod. Competition is divided into approximately 128 music sections and 224 dance sections for competitors of primary school age through to adults. Both music and dance sections range from classical to popular, thus giving the Eisteddfod a breadth not always seen in regional competitions.

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History of the Eisteddfod

In 1963, a group of local citizens, interested in music and the arts, arranged a meeting to form the Hamilton Eisteddfod. The first Hamilton Arts Council Eisteddfod was held, consisting of 34 sections including piano, vocal, brass, primary and secondary school choral, an instrumental group and piano accordion. The piano accordion was a major part of the Eisteddfod in the 1960s, with competitors coming from Kerang, Pyramid Hill, Naracoorte, Hopetoun, Ararat, Horsham, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat & Melbourne.

In 1971, dance sections were incorporated into the Eisteddfod, with some 113 competitors travelling to Hamilton, from regional areas, to participate.

In 1994, the first annual award was presented, following a bequest from the Cartasso family, in honor of well-known local musician Mr. Jack Cartasso. Since that time, the number of awards has steadily increased, thanks to the generosity of many local benefactors.

The late Mrs. Barbara Critten M.B.E. of Hamilton assisted many students in the preparation of their entries for the Eisteddfod. Her contribution to music through her outstanding knowledge, in particular of choral and solo singing, has been perpetually acknowledged by the establishment of a Music Centre at Baimbridge College.

Over the years, a number of former competitors in the Hamilton Eisteddfod have gone on to pursue careers in music and dance as both performers and teachers, in Australia and internationally.

The role of the official accompanist commenced with Mrs. Gwenda Woodward of Hamilton and has continued on with professional accompanists from Melbourne in attendance each year.

Adjudicators of the highest calibre in their professions of music and dance are always appointed and the Eisteddfod Committee continues with this important tradition each year.

From meagre beginnings of small costs and 34 sections, the Hamilton Eisteddfod now has a reputation of high-achieving musicians and dancers and a large following throughout regional Victoria, South Australia, Melbourne and interstate. Competitors and their families come to Hamilton and stay for up to a week thus supporting local businesses. As very few Government subsidies are available, support is sought from the community, local Shire & businesses to assist the dedicated and entirely-volunteer Committee in keeping the Eisteddfod running each year. Committee members also participate in local fundraising events.

The Committee is confident that this year’s Eisteddfod will maintain the high standard of competition and that both students and teachers will continue to derive great benefit from their involvement.

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Past Adjudicators


2014: Peter Hurley
Lecturer in Aural Studies and Topics in Musicology – Music Theatre and Cabaret at the Conservatorium of Music and the VCA at the University of Melbourne. He continues to be involved in curriculum development and as an assessor with the AMEB.

2015: Janis Cook
A respected examiner, adjudicator, lecturer and author.

2016: Peter Bandy
A conductor of considerable experience with successful performances in such diverse genres as Choral, Orchestral, Opera and Ballet Music. Alongside his performing talents are years spent learning his craft as Music Director, Music Arranger, Chorus Master and Orchestra Manager.

2017: Monte Mumford
Monte holds an international reputation as a conductor, adjudicator, clinician and lecturer, contributing regularly to the field of music education through conferences, publications, professional development, and master classes. He is highly regarded and sought for his experience, expertise, passion and effective teaching style.

2018: Prof. Rob McWilliams, Ph.D., M.Mus., B. Mus.Ed
Education Outreach Clinician - Yamaha Music Australia
Prof. Rob McWilliams, an internationally accomplished musician, conductor, and educator, was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. A United States resident from 1991 to 2014, Prof. McWilliams holds a Ph.D. in Music/Music Education from the University of Minnesota, a Master's degree in Instrumental Conducting from Florida State University, and a Bachelor's degree in Music Education from the University of Melbourne. As a guest conductor and musician, Dr. McWilliams has travelled and worked extensively with groups at all levels. Prof. McWilliams has been published in a number of peer-reviewed professional publications, and is a published composer/arranger with Alfred's Music. In early 2015 he relocated to Brisbane, and currently works for Yamaha Music Australia as their Educational Outreach Clinician and freelances as a musician, educator, conductor, adjudicator, and composer/arranger.

2019: Dr Ralph Hultgren AM, PhD, MA, BA
The Music Adjudicator for the 57th Hamilton Eisteddfod was Ralph Hultgren AM, PhD, MA, BA. A member of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, a freelance teacher, university lecturer, composer and conductor, Ralph brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our eisteddfod.


2014: Debbie Landel
Debbie trained at the Australian Ballet School, studied in Russia, London, Europe and America and has been a mentor for the Royal Academy of Dance.

2015: Brian Nolan
Grad Dip – Education, Grad Cert - Visual and Performing Arts, B.A. – Human Movement Studies, Diploma of ‘Dance’ Australian Ballet School, Royal Academy of Dancing 'Teachers' Certificate. In 2013 Brian celebrated his 30th year of teaching. His school – the Brian Nolan Academy of Dance – is located in Melbourne. His students have competed in Ballet Competitions all over the world.

2016: Donna De Paoli
With an extensive teaching experience, Donna is a well-respected Choreographer and Teacher within the Performing Arts Industry. A fully registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dancing since 1986, she has worked extensively through Victoria & New South Wales.

2017: Jillanne Reynolds
Jillanne Reynolds has been teaching for 39 years. Jillanne has taught at numerous schools throughout Melbourne during the past 12 years, including Sharon Lawrence Dancers, Dancescapes, Helen Curwood and Kerryn Leanne School of Dance. She began teaching RAD Vocational Graded students at Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS) in 2009 where she continues today.

2018: Debbie Landel, Gold Coast
Debbie is an experienced Adjudicator, having judged many competitions including, most recently, Brisbane Eisteddfod Solos in 2016 and Brisbane Eisteddfod Groups in 2017, Wollongong Eisteddfod 2017, the ATOD National Finals in 2016, the National Finals of School Dance & Glee Competition 2016 & 2017, Ipswich Eisteddfod, Gold Coast Eisteddfod Special Needs 2017 and Melbourne Performing Arts Challenge.
Debbie trained at The Australian Ballet School and has been a Mentor for the RAD and trained many student teachers to obtain their RAD Teaching Certificate.

2019: Chris Favaloro, Sydney ARAD, ARAP
2019 Hamilton Eisteddfod Dance Adjudicator is Chris Favaloro from N.S.W. Chris guest teaches and adjudicates all over Australia and New Zealand and loves to share his knowledge of dance and the professional industry to aspiring young performers. His able and experienced scribe is Debbie Landel.

City of Hamilton Eisteddfod Inc: Committee Members

President Leeanne Barber
Vice President Jody Stephens
Secretary Denise Fenwick
Asst. Secretary Jane Van Herpen
Treasurer Becky Morton
Asst. Treasurer Glenys Tindall
Program Coordinator Tara Stephens
Canteen Coordinator Glenys Aisbett
Committee Marie Robinson (Life Member)
  Mary McArthur
  Angela Magill
  Ben Hiscock
  Sally Finch
  Lisa McDonald
  Deb Jones

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