Ceri Shaw



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Category: NAFOW

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Once again, it's time to enter the Eisteddfod of The North American Festival of Wales!  There are several opportunities to compete, for those attending  #NAFOW in Philadelphia (Aug. 31 – Sept. 4) or not, including:

- POETRY COMPOSITION:  Welsh Language and English Language, both for Adults (age 18+) and Youth (ages 11-17), each with a $250 grand prize.  Entry deadline: JULY 22

- STAGE COMPETITIONS (Sat., Sept. 3 in Philadelphia):  Solo Voice / Semi-Professional (for the Welsh North America Prize and a $3500 scholarship to travel to compete in Wales next year); Hymn Singing; Welsh Language Recitation and English Language Recitation.  Entry deadlines: AUGUST 22 for singing competitions, no deadline for recitation competitions.

- VISUAL ARTS:  For popular viewing & voting in Philadelphia.  Entry deadline (for title/description):  AUGUST 22. 

- LIMERICK COMPOSITION:  Something new & fun for those attending in-person in Philadelphia… check it out when you get there!

Click on the link for all the information and links you’ll need to enter… and for any questions please write to  eisteddfod@nafow.org !

LINK:   http://festivalofwales.org/eisteddfod-competition.html

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The Eisteddfod of The North American Festival of Wales is on, with a wide range of opportunities to participate!   Poetry Composition is back and available to anyone, anywhere, while for the Festival itself in Utica (Sept. 2-5, 2021) the Visual Arts competition returns along with some stage competitions.

For Poetry Composition (Welsh Language and English Language), send in your work (via email) by the deadline of August 8, 2021, on the theme of "Hiraeth", for a single grand prize in each competition... the David Llewelyn Williams Prizes (US $250 each), honoring the memory of a great friend and huge contributor to the NAFOW Eisteddfod. 

The deadline for entering the other competitions (Visual Arts and stage competitions) is August 20, 2021.

For Visual Arts (painting, sketch, sculpture, etc.), only a description of your work is needed by that date, then bring your work to the Festival hotel (Delta Hotels by Marriott Utica) on Friday, Sept. 3; this year, the competition also includes a theme of "Hiraeth". 

Stage competitions will take place on Saturday, Sept. 4 at the hotel.  The Solo Voice competition welcomes singers of all ages, with a special Youth Prize available for an outstanding youth entrant; hymns are also a possibility as performance pieces. 

The two Recitation competitions (Welsh and English) offer as set pieces the winners from last year's inaugural Poetry Composition Competitions... "gobaith" by Christine James and "Alphabet" by Robert Walton.  For Welsh, entrants of all levels are welcome, and adjudicators will recognize anyone's status as a "Learner" if so declared. 

Click on the link below for online entry forms and detailed information on all of the competitions, as well as an email link if you have further questions... and we'll see you soon!   

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AmeriCymru: Hi Ian and many thanks for agreeing to this interview. What are the plans for the NAFOW Eisteddfod this year?


Ian: Ceri, diolch yn fawr iawn for reaching out and, as always, for helping promote the NAFOW Eisteddfod!  


As is well-known by now, NAFOW will not be meeting in person this year but Executive Director Megan Williams and the Board of Trustees are hard at work in producing a very exciting and engaging set of "virtual" events to be launched around Labor Day weekend, when NAFOW is normally held.  Please keep a lookout at the main NAFOW web page:   http://festivalofwales.org/ index.html  !


As many may well know, we typically have several stage competitions every year, including recitation and singing.  Last year (2019), in Milwaukee, we also added a Visual Arts competition, as well as the Hymn Composition competition in honor of Daniel Protheroe.  With the strictures placed by the pandemic, after very careful consideration we decided to focus solely on competitions that were planned for introduction this year anyway and which also are the best suited to "virtual" participation.  Thus, we are excited to introduce our two Poetry Composition competitions, and a lot of "buzz" seems to have been generated already... with no geographic restrictions in play, we've attracted interest not only from the US, Canada and Wales as expected, but also from places like Australia and Argentina!


As an inducement for participation, each adjudicated winner will be invited to recite their own winning poem as part of the Eisteddfod "segment" of the virtual NAFOW.  To round out that segment, we are also pleased to include performances from two previous winners in singing categories.  (Assuming we all love a bit of suspense, we'll hold on revealing them for now... so stay tuned!)  Thus while we need to stay home with a focus on resuming some state of "normalcy" by next year, we still are very happy to bring the NAFOW Eisteddfod to all in a form that at least should be reminiscent of many of the great experiences we've had with it since inception in 1994!


AmeriCymru: Care to tell us a little about the competition categories?


Ian: Our two wholly separate competitions in Poetry Composition are "Welsh Language Poem" and "English Language Poem".  For each, we request an original poem of between 2 and 6 stanzas of four lines each, thus between 8 and 24 lines total.  Rhyming and meter are unspecified, to permit some freedom in people's creative approach.  You work will be reviewed and (respectfully...) dissected by two top-notch adjudicators for each category:  Menna Elfyn and Eurig Salisbury in Welsh; and Tony Curtis and Robert Dayton in English.  Their red pens are at the ready!


AmeriCymru: Is there a theme for this years' entries?


Ian: As would seem highly appropriate for 2020 in particular, the theme is "Hope/Gobaith", applicable to both categories.  The Eisteddfod Committee did consider other possibilities focusing more on "isolation" or the pandemic.  However, in the end we aimed for something more positive and affirming, in the very spirit of our Festival which creates a strong sense of community and fellowship year after year... even in a year where can't meet in person.


AmeriCymru: Any other rules or instructions that people should be aware of: fees, deadlines etc?


Ian: All pertinent information about the competitions, including links to specific guidelines for composition and submission, can be found at the Eisteddfod page of the Festival website:   http://festivalofwales.org/ eisteddfod-2020.html  .  However... we're always happy to address any stray questions you may have, via email at  eisteddfod@nafow.org  !


As with similar competitions in Wales, we maintain strict anonymity on behalf of all entrants, thus the adjudicators will see only your work and your chosen pseudonym.  Only the competition coordinator (and that wouldn't be me...!) will have any information on the entrants' true identities. 


There is no fee for entering, so what's your excuse?  Kidding aside, time is running out... we need your entry no later than Wednesday, August 12!  But it's very easy to get it in to us... see below!


AmeriCymru: Where and how should people submit their entries?


Ian: Related details can be found in the guidelines for each competition linked at the Eisteddfod page, but basically you can send it in via email as well as "regular" mail.  We highly recommend the email option, and the instructions for submission are very straightforward and workable.


AmeriCymru: Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?


Ian: I just wanted to thank again all those I've had the great privilege of working with on the Eisteddfod Committee, including Danny Proud, David Llewelyn Williams, Karen Wojahn, as well as Welsh North American Association President David Matthews and Executive Secretary Megan Williams and - especially for her help on the website - Systems Coordinator Gerri Baker Parry.  Also, a big "diolch yn fawr" of course goes out to our adjudicators mentioned above, and to our sponsors (which include Bob Dayton and an anonymous donor).


We're very happy to be attempting some real competitions in this year of unprecedented challenge, and very much look forward to resuming our full slate of competitions - including Poetry Composition - for Ottawa in 2021.  As an institution, the eisteddfod is such a hugely important cornerstone of Welsh culture, and as always we're very proud to continue supporting and carrying on the tradition in North America.  This year may be a "virtual" one in the books, but there is nothing at all "virtual" about the real impact that Wales and its constituent organizations the world over will always bear, let alone bless the world with, no matter the circumstances or hardships at hand.

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It’s not too late to enter the stage and Visual Arts competitions at the North American Festival of Wales in Milwaukee (Aug. 29 - Sept. 1)! 

Once again, we have seven different stage competitions in singing or poetic recitation - suiting all ages and different levels of proficiency in Welsh.  Singers can join our Semi-Professional competition to win the Welsh North America Prize - a generous cash scholarship for travel to compete at next year's National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru) in Tregaron (Ceredigion).  We’ve also got Instrumental Solo, open to unaccompanied soloists on any musical instrument.  All stage competitions are on Fri. and Sat., Aug. 30 and 31, and are time-limited to help you enjoy the rest of the Festival!

Also, the new Visual Arts Competition is open to entrants submitting visual artistic submissions (painting, sketch, sculpture, etc.) based on a Welsh theme, for popular adjudication at the Festival (setup is Fri., Aug. 30 and viewing is that day and Sat., Aug. 31).  We will only need a description of your piece before the deadline.

Go to the link shown here for information and guidelines on all of our competitions!  You will also find there our new online entry form for the stage competitions and Visual Arts… deadline is August 20, so fill out your form today and we’ll see you soon in Milwaukee! 

(NAFOW Eisteddfod link: http://thewnaa.org/ eisteddfod-competition.html  )

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It's not too late to enter the singing and (poetic) recitation competitions at the Eisteddfod of The North American Festival of Wales ( www. nafow .org ), Sat. Sept. 2, 2017 , at the Hyatt Regency Rochester (125 East Main Street, Rochester, NY 14604) - deadline for receiving entry forms (via email or regular mail) is August 21 !

Everything you need to know is in the Information Sheet and Entry Form linked below and - excepting the Solo Voice / Semi-Professional (David G. Morris) Competition - all entry fees this year have been eliminated!

We look forward to seeing you onstage on Rochester... for any questions, contact us anytime at eisteddfod @ nafow .org !

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