Meet the judges
Jeff Borradaile, Choral Director, Singer Teacher (BEd.hons)
Jeff has for the last 25 years shared his love of singing with thousands of people across the North West of England. His choirs perform concerts at home and abroad spreading their Acappella sound to all who will listen.
Jeff is proud to be MD of Gathered Voices, Blackburn People's Choir, Ordsall Acappella Singers, South Lakes Acappella, Maelstrom Male Voice and Decibelles Female Voice Choirs. Jeff leads many educational projects. These have included workshops with the Halle, Royal Exchange, Bridgewater Hall, The Lowry, Sing Up, Music and the Deaf, HONOUR, SING TOGETHER- Blackburn Cathedral’s outreach project and individual school projects and outreach from his various choirs.
His career has been focused on cultivating a legacy for singing in hundreds of schools in the area. In his spare time Jeff is a Wedding and Funeral Celebrant and when the wind is blowing in the right direction skippering his sailing boat on Lake Windermere.
Council leader, County Councillor Phillippa Williamson
County Councillor Phillippa Williamson, a Lancastrian, was born and brought up in Poulton-le Fylde and following a career in finance and the civil service, entered politics in May 2017 when she was elected to represent Lancaster Rural North - the County Council’s northern most outpost - where she has lived for over 25 years. Phillippa was re-elected to the County Council in May 2021 when she became Leader of the Council.
Music has been a significant part of Philippa’s life, playing the piano and flute from a young age and competing in local music festivals. ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be involved in Lancashire’s Choir of the Year, celebrating the power of music and the voice to bring us all together’.
Tyndale Thomas MBE
Tyndale creates and performs Gospel and inspirational music throughout the UK, Europe and America. He has contributed greatly to the development and integration of Gospel/Inspirational music within the music industry, fusing inspirational Gospel music with other world music genres.
Tyndale is currently the choir director of the Liverpool Harmonic Gospel Choir, One Voice Community Choir in Preston and Music Director for Manchester based Voice Assembly. He has worked in the capacity of director at the Harmonic for 25 years and has been instrumental in many high-profile projects, such as the celebrations of Preston becoming a City in the Queen’s Jubilee year. He is regularly invited to deliver workshops and direct mass choirs in Europe.
He has supported and performed with nationally and internationally acclaimed artists such as Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Rick Wakeman and Gospel legends: Andrae Crouch, Richard Smallwood and Edwin Hawkins.
Tyndale is a prolific song writer and arranger, and he continues to be an ambassador for Gospel music delivering music, singing and song writing seminars throughout the UK and in Europe. In June 2008 Tyndale was awarded the MBE in recognition of his work – the first time this award has been given to a gospel artist.
Debbie Jones BA(Hons) DipMus(open) ALCM (pfp)
Debbie was born in the north-west of England and was immersed in music from the word go. She began gigging from a young age at clubs, pubs and theatres which funded her studies and gave her some great grounding.
Debbie is now the lead singer in a successful jazz/blues band Tipitina and has worked as a singer/ backing singer with many bands and choirs over the years.
This work has brought many TV and Radio appearances and Tipitina have featured on many radio stations and at jazz festivals worldwide. They have been nominated for a British Jazz Award in 2012,2013, 2014 & 2015 and look forward to recording more in the future.
Debbie is also an educator in music, teaching piano and vocals and she has run many young choirs over the years. She also co-directs the ‘Sing It Big’ choir, based in Chorley. She is passionate about her teaching work and also loves to write music, having written songs for choirs in schools and with Tipitina.
Debbie has now taken on a new challenge- having always been passionate about how music can help people in many ways, she is now studying an MA in Music Therapy at the RNCM.
Jane Irwin, Soprano
As a concert and recital singer Jane has appeared regularly in Britain, Europe and America. Highlights have included appearances at the Carnegie Hall, New York, the BBC Proms, the Wigmore Hall, the Edinburgh International Festival, the Berlin Festival, the Concertgebouw, Boston Symphony Hall, and the Musikverein, Vienna.
She has collaborated with the Deutsche Symphony Orchester, Orchestre de Paris, San Paolo Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Pittsburgh Symphony, San Francisco Symphony, Zurich Tonhalle and many more, with such conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Andrew Davis, Donald Runnicles, Antonio Pappano and Sir Mark Elder. Jane has given recitals at the Chatelet, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Geneva , Aix-en-Provence and Japan.
Operatic appearances have included Ring Cycles at Bayreuth, ROH and Scottish Opera, and other leading roles with Deutsche Oper, Berlin, San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera and the major British companies. Jane also teaches singing at the RNCM.