Unique Nathaniel award inspires young talent

A major feature of the Burra AGL Country Music Festival is the Talent Quest which allows place getters the opportunity to win great prizes.

One of those is the Mid North Country Music Scholarship enabling one junior and one senior entrant to attend the Academy of Country Music at Tamworth, with a total worth of $6000.

This has been through a collaboration with Burra Country Music Events Inc and Port Pirie and Laura Events.

Another notable prize is the Nathaniel O’Brien Memorial Encouragement Award which is presented to a junior recipient selected and sponsored by the O’Brien family.

The $500 award along with trophy is to go toward the entrant’s musical journey, whether it be the purchase of instruments, travel to talent quests or vocal coaching, all of which can be costly and often unattainable for some.

As well as a take home trophy, there is also a perpetual trophy that was hand carved out of red gum by Burra Men’s Shed member Nic Hronopoulos.

The carving project started months leading up to the Burra Festival with a number of intricate features worked into the unique trophy.

The wood was carved into a small guitar shape, complete with pearl inlays, frets and tuning pegs, along with a photograph of Nathaniel, and plaque.

This award was established because of the support and encouragement given to fellow artists by Nathaniel O’Brien.

Nathaniel was tragically killed in a car accident following his last performance at the 2015 Burra Festival at age 19.

He was well-known throughout the music industry for his unwavering willingness to help others, and this award is to acknowledge that dedication and commitment.

The inaugural winner was Andrew Hill from Port Augusta in 2016, and this year the recipient was Jasmine Moder from Whyalla.

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