Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod

The Adjudicators


Judging choral singing at Llangollen is a distinct pleasure for those privileged to serve on the adjudication panel. We hear both fine performances and a significant portion of the great literature available to choral ensembles. We also share the panel with choral conductors from around the world. These warm and friendly men and women bring long professional experience, high integrity and a deep love of the choral art to Llangollen. Two in particular standout for me; our honorary Music Director Roy Bohana, whose insistence upon high standards and fair judging has been an inspiration to all of us, and Sir Thomas Armstrong, whose masterly adjudications were works of art in themselves.

Really fine choral performances are those that combine solid technique and beautiful choral sound with a sense of ensemble unity. Great choirs have the ability to sensitively shape both single musical phrases and entire musical structures, to sing expressive nuances that are rooted in both the music and the poetry. Such choirs project the inner meaning of the composition and the great joy of choral singing.

These are the performances that communicate directly to listeners, when both the audience and the adjudicators experience the thrill of participating in the creation of great art. Fortunately, these are the performances that we so often hear in Llangollen. Professor Dr. Conan Castle (USA) Choral Adjudicator

‘The adjudicators’ panel for folk dance and music feel greatly honoured, yet humble, when we are asked to adjudicate at this unique festival. It is a great responsibility to be Fair to all alike and also to justify the trust laid on us by the Music Director Mr. Roy Bohana, the festival committee and, more importantly, our predecessors who set the standards of adjudication here at Llangollen.

I refer here to Miss Violet Afford and her co-adjudicators Dr. Maud Karpelcs, Mr. Douglas Kennedy and then Mrs. Lucile Armstrong, Prof. Roger Pinon and Prof. Felix Hoerburger, whose combined knowledge of folk dances, music and folklore was unsurpassed.

The art forms which our ancestors left us should be understood and preserved. That is what we are trying to do at this unique festival. New art forms can only be evolved by modern man if the old art forms are correctly performed and their origin and meaning are properly understood. Without this understanding new art forms will have neither roots nor purpose. Narendra Kotiyan – Dance Adjudicator at Llangollen

Sir Thomas ArmstrongSir Thomas Armstrong (1898-1994)

Principal of the Royal Academy Of Music 1955-68
An Address presented to Sir Thomas on his retirement from Llangollen in 1988:

In recognition of the celebration of his 90th Birthday and of his appointment as a Life Vice-President of the Eisteddfod. This memento is presented on behalf of and in the name of the three groups of people who make up the unique Festival at Llangollen, all of whom have cause to feel admiration, respect and affection for him.


The Members of the Eisteddfod Company, comprising the Officers, the members of the Standing Board and Executive Committee, and the members of all other Committees of the Eisteddfod have, since 1960, been gratified by the fact that Sir Thomas has presided at the Board of Adjudicators each year, shedding lustre on the affairs of the Eisteddfod by his presence, and ensuring that its status as an artistic and musical Festival remains pre-eminent.

The choirs and soloists who have competed at Llangollen and who have been privileged to have their performances adjudicated by Sir Thomas have been enriched by the wisdom of his judgements and have had the opportunity to profit from the advice so kindly given by him so that their performance and interpretation of music spanning many centuries and diverse cultures may be constantly improved. The audiences at the Eisteddfod, numbering countless thousands over the years since 1960, have grown to anticipate and to treasure the adjudications of major competitions delivered by Sir Thomas, by which they have been educated and entertained and from which they have learned that goodwill and a love of music add sweetness to victory and remove bitterness from defeat.

Reproduced from the book ‘Fifty Glorious Weeks 1947 – 1996’
ISBN 0 9528296 06 – Compiler and Art Editor Robert B. Attenburrow M.B.E
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