Nailsea Festival of Music


 Adjudicators for the 2017 Festival




Eleanor McLeod comes from Swansea in Wales where she began her teaching career and gained a love of performing and the spoken word through the LAMDA examinations. She then became a professional actress for more than twenty years, frequently presenting Shakespeare to schools all over the world as part of the British Council’s Drama in Education programme as well as appearing on stage, television and being heard on radio in the UK.  She is currently a teacher of Speech and Drama, a member of the LAMDA Examining Board and a British and International Federation of Festivals adjudicator, work which has taken her on her travels again from Singapore to Sri Lanka as well as Africa, the Middle East and Europe. She still performs – when she has time, and as a writer, has realised a long standing ambition to have two books of her poems published, called  “POEMS FOR CHILDREN TO ENJOY – AND TEACHERS TOO”  and “MORE POEMS FOR CHILDREN TO ENJOY AND TEACHERS TOO” and  a selection of monologues and duologues for young performers, “SCENES FOR YOUNG PERFORMERS TO ENJOY”. She is always pleased to share the enthusiasm and talent of young Festival performers. She is looking forward to being part of the Nailsea Festival .



Rebecca trained as a journalist at Cardiff University – during which time she wrote a weekly column for The Guardian newspaper – before moving to London to study with The Actors Company.  Appointed Head of Speech & Drama at Dean Close School (Cheltenham) in 2003, her pupils have been offered training places at all the major UK acting schools, worked for the BBC, Channel 4, RSC and Working Title. She is the Founder of Close Up Theatre – which has won the elite Sell-Out Status for nine years at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – and Artistic Director for No Prophet Theatre, as well as an adjudicator for The British and International Federation of Festivals.



In addition to his work as Head of Keyboard at Wells Cathedral School John Byrne is also Professor of Piano at the Royal College of Music in London.  He won a scholarship to study at the Royal Northern College of Music with Marjorie Clementi and later became a pupil of Ruth Harte at the Royal Academy of Music where he won all the major prizes for pianists including the MacFarren Gold Medal.  Awards from the English Speaking Union, the French Government and the British Council then enabled him to work with Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio in the USA, Vlado Perlemuter in Paris and with Vera Gournastaeva at the renowned Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in Moscow.  Other awards at this time included scholarships from the governments of France, Italy, Germany, Hungary, Poland and Canada.  He has performed throughout the UK and in Western Europe, the USA and the Soviet Union. In addition to teaching, lecturing and adjudicating he has also worked as a Mentor for the Associated Board in the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong.  He is a regular competition juror and also gives master classes - most recently in Dublin, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.  His pupils have won numerous awards in national and international competitions.



Sarah Jefferies is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music, where she studied with Josephine Veasey and Patricia Clarke. Whilst at the Academy, Sarah was the recipient of many awards and prizes ranging from Early Music, English Song, Opera and Lieder. In her final year, she was awarded the Ann E Lloyd Scholarship to fund an advanced year of study.  Upon leaving the Academy, Sarah won a place  to study at the Sweelinck Conservatoire in Amsterdam with Margreet Honig and Elly Ameling.

Sarah has had a varied career in both the UK and Europe as a soloist in various recitals and oratorios, and has worked at both the Opera de Lyon as well as the Nederland Opera in Holland. She has also recorded with the LPO, under the baton of the revered conductor Kent Nagano, such varied works as Orf's 'Carmina Burana' and Schoenberg's 'Moses und Aaron'.

Sarah enjoys working with choirs of all ages and with choral societies, and has a thriving teaching practice, where she works with students ranging from Grade 1 all the way through to Diploma standard.  She is visiting singing teacher to Marlborough College in Wiltshire, and gives master classes and workshops all over the country.  Sarah has greatly enjoyed being an adjudicator for five years now, under the auspices of the British Federation of Festivals.


Rebecca won scholarships to RCM and Opera School. Rebecca has sung professionally at Glyndebourne, WNO and Opera 80 amongst others. As a soloist she has performed throughout the UK and Europe. She conducts ‘Cantatrici’ chamber choir. She has a private voice studio in Oxford and she teaches at St. Clare’s International College and Bath Spa University. She coaches the Oxford Harmonic Choir. She gives workshops throughout the UK on the functionality of the voice, accent breathing and vocal care and maintenance.

Rebecca has an MA in musicology and she is currently a PhD research student at UCL Institute of Education. The research is investigating what interventions help to maintain the functionality of the mature female voice.

Rebecca performs locally as an oratorio singer, she also sings with a quartet called the Broadway Belles and is a regular jazz singer at venues in Oxford. She has always enjoyed being a crossover singer and being able to perform in different styles of music.

Rebecca is currently a director of the British Voice Association,  She successfully combines teaching, singing, conducting, and researching.


Elizabeth Stafford was born and educated in Birmingham. She studied for a BA (hons) in music at Durham University, following this with a PhD in Performance Studies at Sheffield University, a Postgraduate Diploma in Vocal Studies at Trinity College of Music and a PGCE in Primary Music at Birmingham City University.

As a solo soprano Elizabeth has won many competitions and awards including First Prize and ‘Most Promising Young Female Singer’ in the David Clover Competition and finalist representing Sheffield University in the Musica Britannica Competition. She has appeared as an oratorio and opera soloist with numerous ensembles in venues including Symphony Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, and most of the major cathedrals in England. She has given recitals in many prestigious locations including the CBSO Centre, the National Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Malta Cultural Centre, and has broadcast as a soloist on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service. In 2011, Elizabeth gave a performance of Rossini's Cat Duet in the presence of Princess Michael of Kent.

As a choral conductor, Elizabeth has conducted numerous youth and adult choirs in venues including Symphony Hall, Birmingham Town Hall, Tewkesbury Abbey & St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham. In 2009, Elizabeth was selected for a choral conducting Masterclass with David Hill and the BBC Singers, and in 2010 was invited to conduct a massed choir for the Music for Youth Family Prom in Birmingham.

Elizabeth has worked for numerous Local Authority Music Services as a vocal and curriculum teacher, and as a teacher-trainer for Trinity College London, The Open University and the ABRSM. Elizabeth now runs her own company Music Education Solutions, which provides workshops and training for schools and teachers throughout the UK. She is Programme Leader for the Level 4 Certificate for Music Educators at CPD Centre West Midlands, and Senior Lecturer in Music Tuition at Leeds College of Music. She is an Adjudicator Member of The British and International Federation of Festivals.


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