As the Festival has grown in numbers and in quality of performance, several higher awards have been instituted. In the fifties, an award was established for the Best Performance in the festival. In 1964, The Rose Bowl Competition was instituted, first for solo singers, and subsequently for any senior solo competitor. This competition brings together winners in various senior categories in a competition judged by the entire panel of adjudicators, and an over-all winner is selected. This, of course is a most prestigious award, for it signifies a superior accomplishment.
The Rose Bowl concept has been expanded so that in 1975 a Junior Rose Bowl was instituted for competition among instrumental and vocal solo competitors in the 17 and under age category and in 1989 a Group Rose Bowl was instituted for competition among choral and instrumental categories.
The list of winners in all the rose Bowl competitions is a ‘who's who' of our local music scene, and contains the names of many musicians performing as soloists or in groups who have attained outstanding national and international recognition.
As a footnote, the first Rose Bowl Winner in 1964, Margaret Ann Hanley Whittle, had had
the benefit of being a competitor in every St. John's Music Festival up to that time.