Bendigo muso cleans up

Awards haul: Penelope Somerville with her eight awards from the CCMA Winter Junior Talent Quest. Photo: Geoff O’Neill110705GOC02TAMWORTH has farewelled its visitors for the Hats Off to Country Festival with organisers believing visitor numbers were on a par with other years, but improving.

“A lot of the venues seemed to be quite busy and the Bush Balladeers Show at The Pub, for instance, was pretty much packed,” Country Music Association of Australia’s projects manager Cath Grippo said.

“Visitor numbers seemed to be on par with previous years but it can improve and I think it will as the Festival is getting a better reputation.

“We’ve only had really positive feedback, which is great.”

Saturday night’s Hats Off to the Australian Spirit concert was enjoyed by the audience with organisers saying it went “really, really well”.

Saturday night also witnessed the Capital Country Music Association’s Winter Junior Talent Quest, with talented youngsters competing for Camerata scholarships among other prizes.

Bendigo’s multi-instrumentalist Penelope Somerville certainly cleaned up on the night, taking home eight trophies.

Penelope is no stranger to accolades, having been the Juvenile Overall Winner of the CCMA Winter Junior Talent Quest when she was 12 – winning her first scholarship to Camerata. She then won the Jazzer Smith Talent Quest, gaining her second scholarship to Camerata and now she’s won her third scholarship by being named Junior Overall Winner of the CCMA Winter Talent Quest 2005. This will allow her to attend Camerata for the third time next July.

“I’ve been coming to Tamworth for the January festival for eight years and coming in July for six years,” Penelope said. “I love Tamworth, it’s like my second home.”

It’s no surprise then, with her love for Tamworth and her many awards, that Penelope’s dream is to pursue a career in country music.

“It’s definitely my biggest dream to play for Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt or Keith Urban,” she said.

The awards are likely to keep coming and she is well on her way to achieving her dreams, with a finalist berth in last year’s Telstra Road to Tamworth, after winning the Bendigo heat.

Penelope has again been selected among the 12 performers in the Telstra Road to Tamworth Bendigo heat later this month.

Camerata is a stepping stone for young artists under 18 years to the College of Country Music.

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