OUR JUDGES

We are delighted to introduce you to our Rockstar Challenge judges. Being experts in the music and entertainment industry makes them well placed to judge our wonderful choirs, bands, orchestras, groups and because of that we’re delighted to have them on board. If you would like to learn more about them, please read their biographies below.

STEPHEN HAWKSWORTH

Stephen Hawksworth is a teacher, York City supporter and a member of The Grand Old Uke of York.

He plays a variety of instruments from trumpet to drums, bass guitar to all types of ukulele.

He has personal experience of the quality service that St. Leonard’s Hospice provides and is always keen to support anything that will raise more money for them.

Stephen has performed at large and small venues across the region as well as recording with the Grand Old Uke of York.

NEIL BALFOUR

Neil Balfour is an opera singer whose repertoire spans a diverse range of music.  He graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with Master distinction under singing teacher Nicholas Powell.  Upcoming 2018 performances include covering Don Alfonso in Cosi Fan Tutte for opera Holland Park, touring the same role with Heritage Opera and a return to the Isle of Man to perform the title role of Don Pasquale.   
Other jobs of interest include doing voice-over work for Youtube Channel's with views of over 70 million, premiering the first electonic opera, conducting 300+ mass choirs and performing a private show for HMH The Queen!  Neil also keeps busy as a recitalist and concert soloist across the UK as well as live Broadcasts for BBC Radio 3,4 & 5. 

RICH HUXLEY

Rich is the founder of the UK’s first fan funded/owned record label, and an advocate of working towards sustainable artistic careers.

 

He speaks and writes about creative entrepreneurship, and about the new music industries. 

 

He's also a member of Hope and Social, and the Gary Stewart Band, primarily a guitarist though he's been know to play piano, double bass, glockenspiel, Hammond organ, bass guitar and multifarious percussion, Fender Rhodes and even drums on countless records now.

I also write and produce music for film, and theatre… occasionally something he's made appears on the TellyBox.

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WHAT WILL OUR JUDGES BE LOOKING FOR

Our judges will be looking for music groups who are:

* Ready to take the next step on their musical journey

* S
chool groups who want to make a school single

* O
rchestras who want to record something to showcase what they can do

* Hidden talents who just need to take the plunge to get out there

MORGAN LARGE

Morgan is a Set and Costumer designer based in London and is currently designing the first-ever revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's THE WOMAN IN WHITE at Charing Cross Theatre, directed by Thom Southerland.


His designs can also be seen in GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE WHICH and Beth Steel's play WONDERLAND.  He has recently worked on Tom Fletcher's THE CHRISTMASAURUS at Hammersmith Eventim Apollo.


Having said that he's also an accomplished clarinet, saxophone and piano player.  It's great to have such a national creative talent on the panel of judges and someone to represent the visual and musical arts. 

Make it look fabulous and you might just catch Morgan's eye!

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JESSICA PENN 

Jessica Penn has over 10 years experience in the arts performing in front of live audiences as well as writing and performing original songs in her first band The summits, playing Glastonbury music festival and recording her first studio album.
 

She has 6 years singing experience in a popular covers band and playing to audiences nationwide.

A lady of many talents she also 
co-created Dr Shakamotos Recording studio in Leeds where amongst publishing, voice over and charity work is in the process of recording her own original album.

NAOMI WELLS SMITH

The founder of The Grand Old Uke of York and responsible for this
crazy project! 

 

With a musical family who play the piano, saxophone, drums, guitar, clarinet, sing in choirs and work in the West End there was no choice but to be involved in music!

As a classically trained flautist and piccolo player she then turned her hand to the ukulele after a weekend in Haworth listening to Wuthering Heights by the UOGB with her mother!   

She will be looking for an 'unusual' group with character, flair and
sense of humour.